21 July 2019

New figures reveal that Scots have received over £80 million in advance payments since Universal Credit began full service.

The data, released to Scottish Labour in a Freedom of Information request, also reveals that the number of advances paid out has topped 200,000.

In May 2019, there were 184,537 Scots on full service Universal Credit.

Advance payments for Universal Credit were introduced by the Department of Work and Pensions as a mechanism to prevent people falling into hardship during the five-week wait for their first payment.

These latest figures follow reports that scammers are fraudulently claiming advance loans through misuse of the system.

Scottish Labour has warned this latest revelation is yet further evidence that Universal Credit is failing those that it is intended to help.

Scottish Labour Social Security Spokesperson Mark Griffin MSP said:

“It’s beyond belief that £80 million has had to be paid out in advance loan payments since Universal Credit was rolled out into full service.

“More and more people are being pushed into hardship – and the system is clearly set up in a way that means it is not helping those who need it.

“Those on Universal Credit shouldn’t be forced into claiming advance payments that have to be paid back.

“Across the country tens of thousands are still suffering the misery of Universal Credit – made to choose between paying the rent, heating their home or eating.

“The Tories must halt this shambolic system and take immediate steps to ensure those who need it most are getting the assistance they need.”
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