Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has added her voice to the chorus of people demanding the government halt their rollout of Universal Credit, urging the government to “find some compassion.”
In her speech at the SNP conference today in Glasgow, Sturgeon said that it was “unacceptable” that people in Scotland were “unable to eat as a direct result of Westminister government policy.”
She added: “So to the Tories we say this. Find some compassion. Halt the roll-out of Universal Credit now.”
Sturgeon labelled the Conservative government uncaring, saying: “The willful damage being done to social protection by the UK government is a scandal. It is callous. It lacks heart. It is the hallmark of a government that just doesn’t care.”
The First Minister also shared a message she had received from a carer who had just been given her first installment of Carers’ Allowance Supplement, which has recently been implemented for over 76,000 carers across Scotland.
It read: “I just received my Carers’ Allowance Supplement and I’m not ashamed to say I had a wee cry to myself. This is the first time I’ve been thanked for what I do and not questioned.”
SNP ministers have previously voiced their opposition to Universal Credit, with MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire, called the Conservatives “pious loan sharks” in 2017 saying: “The progress with the roll-out of universal credit as it stands is callous at worst and arrogantly idiotic at best.
“It’s almost like this government is starting to behave like some kind of pious loan shark, except that instead of coming through your front door they’re coming after your mental health, your physical well-being, your stability, your sense of security.
“That is what the experience is for all of our constituents.”
The Scotland Act 2016 devolved some social security powers to the Scottish government, and with this the SNP announced that they would use this to guarantee that disability benefits would remain universal and not means tested and that Universal Credit in Scotland could be paid twice monthly, ensuring Scots could manage their money more easily.