MP demands figures on how many people are being put on Universal Credit in error
An MP has blamed the DWP for creating homelessness over its “incompetent” processing of Universal Credit claims.
It emerged last week in a Glasgow City Council report into the impact the scheme was having on its services that homeless people in the city has been placed on the new scheme in error by the DWP.
Now Alison Thewliss, SNP MP for Glasgow Central, is demanding answers from the DWP as to how many more homeless people across the UK have been placed on the controversial scheme in error.
The report, published by the Glasgow City Joint Integration Board, found that 73 homeless people have been put on Universal Credit, despite DWP guidance instructing homeless people being exempt from the new scheme.
As revealed by TFN, the error has cost the council £144,000 so far, a situation Trewlis said demonstrated the “devastating impact on the city’s homelessness services,” which are already facing a £4 million shortfall due to Universal Credit.
Thewliss questioned ministers in the Department for Communities and Local Government in the House of Commons on Monday regarding the Government’s handling of the scheme and the financial difficulties it places on homelessness services across the UK.
She has since tabled further questions to find out how many other homeless people across the UK have been placed on Universal Credit in error.
Thewliss said: “The experience of the 73 homeless claimants in Glasgow, who have been added to Universal Credit in error, show that homelessness services across the UK are likely to take a serious financial hit once Universal Credit is fully rolled out.
“The suggestion from the Minister that Discretionary Housing Payment is used to top this up completely misses the point. With local authorities forced to cover the arrears of their tenants, which means less money to provide vital services which people rely on in times of need.
“The UK government needs to wake up to the reality that DWP actions are cutting the safety net of Council homelessness services, deeply undermining their stated aim of helping people into work.
“They can take the first step to head off this problem by halting the deeply flawed implementation of Universal Credit.”
A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “Welfare reform has already had a significant impact on our budget for homelessness services.
"The introduction of universal credit is placing further pressure on homelessness budgets and it is anticipated that delivery of these services will become increasingly challenging.
“We will continue to seek ways to mitigate the impact of these changes so we continue to operate an effective service for those affected by homelessness.”