Motion S5M-00456: Citizens Advice Scotland’s Report, Learning From Testing Times

That the Parliament welcomes Citizens Advice Scotland’s report, Learning From Testing Times, which analyses the impact of the early rollout of universal credit (UC) in Scotland on Citizens Advice Bureaux clients; is concerned at the substantial number of early issues highlighted in the report due to the way that the UK Government has designed UC, including a six-week wait for a first payment, administration problems, and lack of a Freefone helpline number; understands that UC is currently only available to a small number of claimants but will eventually be claimed by over 800,000 people in Scotland, including people with complex health conditions, carers, families with children, and low-income workers; considers that this will present further challenges to the people of Scotland and the services that support them; calls on the UK Government to take urgent practical measures to address the design and administrative issues that have emerged in the early rollout of UC to ensure that Scottish claimants do not face hardship or delays in payments; believes that the devolution of administrative flexibilities in relation to UC to the Scottish Parliament represents an opportunity to make improvements to certain aspects of UC; welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to use these flexibilities to change payment times and end the so-called bedroom tax, and further welcomes that the Parliament has agreed that dignity and respect will be at the heart of Scotland’s new social security powers.

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