Citizens Advice Scotland calls for end to five-week wait for Universal Credit

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has today called upon the British Government to end the current five-week wait for Universal Credit.

CAS has claimed that this wait is pushing many Scots into poverty.

The call from CAS follows the publication of a report by the Trussell Trust UK which reports a spike in food bank referrals in areas which have Universal Credit in place.

Earlier this month, CAS also published a report into the five-week wait, revealing the impact of the waiting period on clients.

In addition to clients going without food because of the wait, there are examples people were forced into debt due to their inability or difficulty in paying rent, utilities and council tax, especially if the person does not have savings.

The report also revealed that many clients who endured the five-week wait suffered from stress and ill mental and physical health because of the stress of waiting for the UC payout.

Mhoraig Green, CAS social justice spokesperson, said: “This report chimes with the evidence we see across the Citizens Advice network in Scotland about the impact that the 5-week wait has on people’s lives. The waiting period pushes people into debt or causes their existing debt to spiral, and it leaves people with no money to heat their home or buy food, and exacerbates their ill health.

“The recent spending round for the government was a missed opportunity to fix this problem. With so many organisations now publishing the same evidence, surely it is time for the government to recognise that what we are showing is the real picture. The five-week wait must go.”

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