New figures from the DWP released last week show that there are now more than 107,000 people on Universal Credit in Scotland. Of that figure, 37,000 are in work with 14,000 working ‘with requirements.’ This means that despite working full time the claimant isn’t earning the equivalent of minimum wage. Universal credit tops up their pay, however, as a result, they remain open to sanction if they do not meet the conditions of their universal credit claim.
Of the 2,293 people receiving Universal Credit at Rutherglen and Cambuslang Job Centres, 650 are working. 314 of those are working ‘with requirements’. This means that 48% of working people in Rutherglen and Cambuslang who receive Universal Credit could face sanctions.
The rules around Universal Credit mean that these people must increase their income – either with a second job, more hours or a higher paid job – or face cuts to their universal credit payments if they fail to meet set conditions.
This means that despite already being in work, claimants can be forced into arrears, require the use of foodbanks or seek pay day loans if they are hit with the harsh sanctions built into the universal credit system.
Labour has called for the Conservative UK Government to ‘pause and fix’ Universal Credit.
Ged Killen, MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West said
“Universal credit is a failure.”
“These new statistics show that despite working hard, those in employment can still face sanction due to a flawed system”.
“A report by the Child Poverty Action Group has said that even two parents working full time on the minimum wage cannot afford a basic standard of living in Theresa May’s Britain. Universal credit sanctions on those in work make this situation worse and can drive families and individuals into poverty”
“In parts of Rutherglen and Hamilton West, 1 in 4 children are living in poverty, yet 300 workers in Rutherglen and Cambuslang could face sanctions on universal credit because they aren’t earning enough, this affects 14,000 Scots nation-wide.
“That isn’t the fault of working people – that’s the fault of a broken economy which sees wages stagnant, a prevalence of zero hours contracts and a soaring cost of living.”
“A Labour government would end insecure work and deliver a real living wage of £10 per hour.”
“Universal Credit was designed to support people into work but these figures show that working people in Hamilton are being penalised by a broken system.
“After almost a decade in power, it is clear the Tory government has no understanding of real life in our communities. Only Labour has a radical plan to invest in an economy that works for everyone and not just a few at the top.”