Nearly 600 working people face Universal Credit sanctions

Lesley Laird MP has called for the Tory government to ‘halt and fix’ Universal Credit as new data reveals four in 10 working people on the benefit are being told to seek more work.

New figures show that in the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency, where Universal Credit was introduced in December, there are now more than 4500 people on the benefit.

Lesley said: “While we don’t have a breakdown of that total, if we assume the national picture is reflected here that would indicate nearly 600 people in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath could be facing sanctions because they are not earning enough.”

According to national statistics, 107,000 people are on Universal Credit and of that figure 37,000 are in work with 14,000 working ‘with requirements.’

This means that the person is making less than the equivalent of the national minimum wage at full time hours each week.

The rules around Universal Credit mean these people are forced to increase their income – either with a second job, more hours, or a higher paid job – or face cuts to universal credit.

Lesley added: “Working people should not be penalised because their wages have stagnated or because they’re stuck in a zero hours contract, but this Government seems oblivious to that.

“Vulnerable people are being forced by this supposed ‘welfare’ system into greater poverty through no fault of their own.

“It’s perfectly clear that Universal Credit has been a disaster and it’s about time the Government woke up. They should halt it now, and fix it.”