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Day of rage against Universal Credit

This news post is over 6 years old

Anti-poverty campaigners say Christmas will be cancelled for thousands of families in Scotland as a result of Universal Credit

People will take to the streets this weekend in a national series of actions against the Tories’ controversial roll-out of Universal Credit (UC).

There is growing opposition to the imposition of the new benefit, which wraps six payments into one.

Anti-poverty campaigners say Christmas will be cancelled for thousands of families in Scotland as a result of UC

As well as the long waits for the benefit there are other problems such as the complex online-only application process and the housing benefit element not being paid direct to landlords causing rent arrears and in some cases eviction.

Trade union Unite is calling on the government to stop and fix UC before even more families are forced to use foodbanks and struggle to heat their homes this Christmas.

Unite Community members and campaigners will be holding street stalls across Scotland on Saturday (2 December) to help raise awareness of the plight of UC’s victims.

Jamie Caldwell, Unite Community coordinator for Scotland, said: “Despite knowing that Universal Credit causes serious problems for those claiming it the government is ploughing ahead regardless while claimants are descending into debt, relying on foodbanks and getting into rent arrears and in many cases are being evicted from their homes.

“In order to claim Universal Credit claimants need an internet connection which many simply can’t afford.

“Unite is demanding a cut in the long waits to receive money, for people to be able to apply in job centres, better help for people when the system fails, landlords to be paid directly to avoid people getting into rent arrears and losing their homes, and an end to benefit sanctions for people in and out of work.”

In Scotland there are currently 50,889 households receiving UC but a further 138,120 will put on it this winter and this figure is expected to reach 542,770 once the government has finished rolling it out fully by March 2022.

Over one million low paid part-time workers will also be affected by UC and for the first time ever people in work could face having their benefits stopped if they don’t prove to the job centre that they’re searching for better paid work or more hours.

The Trussell Trust, the UK’s biggest foodbank provider, says demand in areas where UC has already been rolled out has increased by an average of 30% and Landlords report a huge increase in rent arrears.

Actions will take place at 12pm at Dundee's Murray Gate and 11am at New Kirkgate, Leith.