The UK government really needs to get a grip – and no, I’m not talking about Brexit. I’d need more than this short column to cover that omnishambles.

Universal Credit rolls out fully in West Dunbartonshire this November. The Tories are ignoring widespread condemnation of the system and showing an utterly callous disregard for the hardships faced by claimants.

The National Audit Office has concluded in a recent report that UC has not delivered value for money, likely never will, and may end up costing more than the system it replaces.

Figures compiled by housing associations across the UK show tenants receiving UC in arrears at twice the level of non-UC claimants. That’s stress and worry that thousands of tenants don’t need.

Universal Credit merges six benefits into one. A single payment is paid directly into claimants’ bank accounts to cover whichever benefits they are eligible for and claimants pay bills, such as rent, out of their bank. 

But the UK government will only pay in to one account per household; another major flaw increasing the risk of women’s vulnerability to financial abuse. Perpetrators of domestic abuse could find it much easier to exert financial control, leaving their victim isolated and without the financial means to escape the abuse. 

Simply allowing split payments would help prevent this, as proposed in a petition at

And it doesn’t end there. A victim trying to escape abuse now has to provide the DWP with proof of domestic abuse before they will get help. Victims needs to provide written evidence from a person acting in an official capacity who has knowledge of all incidents of abuse occurring in the last six months, echoing the rape clause the Tories in Scotland were so happy to champion.

If you are struggling, and need help, don’t bother asking your MSP. New rules from Westminster exclude MSPs from directly contacting the Job Centre on behalf on constituents. Only Westminster MPs are permitted now. Rather than have an effective system, the Tories are wilfully making it more difficult for vulnerable people to get help.

Anyone with concerns about UC should contact their local Citizens’ Advice Bureau or the council for advice in the first instance.