Lanark MP wants PM to visit to see benefit impact

Angela Crawley MP.
Angela Crawley MP.

Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley claims the lives of some of her constituents have been devastated by the new universal credits benefit, and she wants UK Government Prime Minister Theresa May to come here to see the impact for herself.

The Scottish National Party MP’s invitation was issued to Mrs May as universal credit was rolled out for the first time in South Lanarkshire, and she claims constituents have already faced major problems, including being left destitute while awaiting payments.

She further claims that almost £1.5m of South Lanarkshire Council cash that could be used to build new council houses is going on mitigating problems with the new benefit onstead.

She says in a letter to Mrs May: “Some of my constituents have had to wait over 12 weeks for payment, some have received payment without the housing costs that they are entitled to, and a number have already registered as homeless as a result.”

The MP told the Gazette on Monday: “The local rollout of universal credit – even prior to full service – has been nothing short of a disaster.

“Earlier this month South Lanarkshire went live, meaning that there will be an estimated sevenfold increase in people applying for universal credit.

“Prior to the full rollout, those eligible to apply for their entitlement reported spiralling debt, reliance on food banks and being made homeless as a result.

“The financial pressure put on front-line services is mounting.

“South Lanarkshire Council are putting almost £1.5m next year into mitigating the damage of the accelerated roll-out. That money would be better spent on building council houses rather than protecting people from the cruel policies of the Tory government.

“I truly believe that if the Prime Minister knew the human impact that universal credit is having, she would pause the rollout and fix the problems, so I invite her and any of her colleagues and advisers to join me in meeting with the council, food banks and Citizens’ Advice.”