Yet another Tory politician has joined condemnation of the hated Universal Credit system

A member of the Scottish Parliament said the most vulnerable in society are worried.

A Tory member of the Scottish Parliament has said that the UK government’s Universal Credit scheme risks “failing those who the system sets out to support.”

Under the new social security system, Universal Credit will replace several existing benefits for working-age people.

Universal Credit was supposed to make the benefits system simpler but has been heavily criticised by a wide range of organisations.

A 2017 report claimed that three times more people are being sanctioned under Universal Credit than under its predecessor – Job Seekers Allowance – including ten times as many homeless people.

In an open letter published today, Tory MSP Annie Wells said:

“Whilst I support the premise of Universal Credit, it is paramount that it is implemented in a way that sees nobody left behind.

“The most vulnerable in our society need to be reassured that their concerns over the impact of this rollout, in its current form, will be listened to and that it will not affect their day to day lives. To not do so, runs the risk of failing those who the system set out to support.”

Commenting on the letter, the SNP’s George Adam MSP said:

“This is an incredibly frank, yet welcome, admission from a Tory MSP that the rollout of Universal Credit is having a damaging impact on people’s lives. There is no doubt has been a disaster – driving kids into poverty and forcing families to rely on foodbanks. 

“But Annie Wells cannot hide from the fact it is her own party which is responsible for Universal Credit, and it’s her party which is refusing to back down in face of truly devastating evidence of the human cost.”

Wells is only the latest Tory figure to criticise the system. Tory MPs like Johnny Mercer, Robert Halfon and Heidi Allen have called for cuts to the system to be reversed and former Prime Minister John Major has compared Universal Credit to Margaret Thatcher’s hated Poll Tax.

Opposition MPs have been even more critical of Universal Credit. Caroline Lucas has tweeted: “Simply shocking that, under the disaster that is #UniversalCredit, more than 100K families with disabled children will be worse off by £1,750 per year. What are Ministers thinking?”

Labour has tried to force the government to release its own analysis of the impact of Universal Credit. Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: “Clearly they want to cover up how it’s devastating people’s lives. This can’t go on.”

See more of our coverage of Universal Credit.

Joe Lo is an investigative journalist and writes for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter.

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