North East Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles, has called on changes to Universal Credit after Scottish Liberal Democrats obtain new figures showing Aberdeenshire residents have slipped into rent arrears since the roll out of Universal Credit.
A Scottish Liberal Democrat freedom of information request submitted to Scotland’s 32 local authorities reveals that between the introduction of Universal Credit in Scotland and 22 January 2019, thousands of Scots in local authority housing have slipped into rent arrears.
The figures released by the party reveal that of the total Universal Credit claimants in Aberdeenshire council housing 448 are in rent arrears, 429 have slipped into rent arrears since Universal Credit roll out. The average rent arrears by household is £925 with the most owed standing at £4,569.
Mr Rumbles said: “Universal credit has been a universal failure. It has helped push thousands more people into rent arrears.
“Westminster needs to look at this again. They are failing some of the most vulnerable in the North East.
“The Scottish Government must learn lessons from this failure. Holyrood will soon have to decide a Scottish welfare policy, we have seen what does not work, they must work to find what does.”
Notes to editors:
The Scottish Liberal Democrat freedom of information request was as follows:
- What date was Universal Credit rolled out in your local authority area?
- On 22 January 2019, how many Universal Credit Claimants live in local authority housing, (b) how many of these are in rent arrears, and (c) how many of these entered rent arrears after the date Universal Credit was rolled out in your local authority area?
- What is the i) average and ii) most owed per household broken down by the categories set out in 2(b) and (c)?
A spreadsheet of results can be found here