Govan Law Centre launches Universal Credit campaign
Govan Law Centre (GLC) has called for a new resilience strategy to challenge the adverse impact of Universal Credit in Scotland.
With the final roll out due to be completed on December 5, the welfare reform will be received by over 600,000 households in Scotland.
GLC said its casework across Glasgow already confirms that Universal Credit is causing misery and increasing poverty. The law centre described the UK Government’s flagship welfare reform as an “unworkable social security policy” in its present form. Designed to simplify the benefit system and make it easier for people to transition into work, GLC said Universal Credit has now been cut so heavily, it is increasing misery rather than reducing poverty.
Govan Law Centre believes Universal Credit should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament so a new solution to in-work poverty can be found.
In the meantime it is calling on the Scottish Government to implement reforms to mitigate the worst impact of the policy.
The law centre is calling for:
- An urgent updating of the Scottish pre-action court requirements
- Preventing landlords deducting more than 5% of a tenant’s Universal Credit or disposable income for arrears of rent
- Social landlords to ensure tenants are made aware of the ability for direct payments from Universal Credit to rent
- A national co-ordination of advice and intervention strategies in Scotland to limit damage
Govan Law Centre said it hopes to build a coalition of civic and third sector groups and trade unions who will support the need for Universal Credit to be devolved to Scotland.
Mike Dailly of Govan Law Centre said: “With the full rollout of Universal Credit in Glasgow for new claimants in a few weeks much more must be done to tackle the crisis of Universal Credit until it can be devolved. The Scottish Government and all stakeholders need to act now, with interim measures, to reduce the misery.
“We need updated pre-action requirements to provide help and support to prevent evictions, we should restrict the increased deductions from universal credit for rent arrears, ensure tenants are fully aware they can have their UC paid direct to the landlord if this will help them feel safer in their home, and we need national co-ordination of advice and intervention strategies in Scotland.”