Corri Wilson MP has called for the Scottish Parliament to be given more powers to ease the effects of benefit changes.
As one of the Westminster Government’s main welfare changes, universal credit came into force at the Girvan job centre this week. The MP wants politicians at the Scottish Parliament to have full control over the changes brought in by universal credit.
The MP for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock said: “The current drive to cut £12 million from the welfare budget withdraws tax credits from many working families and freezes working age benefits for four years.
“Repackaging a number of benefits as universal credit does not alter the fact that child poverty is set to rise by 40 per cent over the next five years.
“I have been heavily involved in scrutinising the welfare reform and work bill this week and I believe that full control over universal credit needs to be devolved so we can take action here in Scotland to ensure a fairer social security system.
“This would enable us to stop penalising working families on low incomes, as the current cuts to tax credits do.”
The MP added that the Scotland Bill will limit the Scottish Government’s powers.
“The Scotland Bill in its current form limits the ability of the Scottish Government to use the additional powers it proposes and retains vetoes for UK Government ministers. Scotland needs more powers over social security to tackle poverty, inequality and help those who need support the most.”
Universal Credit is designed to replace six existing benefits with one monthly payment and will combine in and out of work benefits.
Minister for welfare reform Lord Freud said: “Universal credit is a revolution in welfare – a system that, for the first time, supports people both in and out of work. Already people across the country are benefitting from this greater flexibility.
“Under universal credit we are helping to create a higher wage, lower tax, and lower welfare society, with people moving into jobs faster, and able to increase their earnings safe in the knowledge that they are better off in work.”
New single job seekers in Girvan were able to claim the benefit from Monday as part of the latest roll-0ut of the plans.