PEOPLE struggling to make ends meet while waiting for Universal Credit payments in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire have been given almost £2million in emergency loans, new figures have shown.

In Paisley, £1.07 million has been paid out to people facing huge financial difficulties since the system was rolled out last year.

In Johnstone, £500,000 has been paid out and in Barrhead the figure stands at £300,000.

READ MORE: Sharp rise in foodbank demand as Universal Credit blamed

The data, revealed following a Freedom of Information request from the Labour Party, has been roundly condemned as showing the unfairness of Universal Credit which replaced six previously separate benefits with a single monthly payment.

It is not paid until five weeks after the first claim is made, often leaving people in severe hardship.

Neil Bibby, a Labour MSP for the West of Scotland region, slammed the Universal Credit system as “shambolic” .

Mr Bibby added: “Many people are being forced into hardship. 

“The way the system is set up is clearly not helping those who need it. 

“People on Universal Credit should not be forced into having to claim emergency loans just so they can heat their home, provide food for their family or even pay their rent.”

The Gazette: Neil Bibby Neil Bibby

Mr Bibby has now called on new Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take the opportunity to make sure those who need it most receive the assistance they need.

Despite the figures, the Department for Work and Pensions claims the new system is “a force for good”.

A spokesperson said: “People can get their first payment on day one of their claim as an advance and we continue to make improvements.

“In the past year the number of people being paid in full and on time has risen to 95 per cent.”

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