Scottish Greer MSP Ross Greer has slammed recent comments by Conservative MSP in the Helensburgh Advertiser regarding the controversial Universal Credit scheme. Greer has accused Corry and the Conservatives of ‘wilful delusion’ for ignoring the harm the widely condemned rollout of UC has done, which the Conservative dismissed as ‘teething problems in his local paper column.
Writing in the Helensburgh Advertiser last week, Mr Corry claimed that Universal Credit was a ‘positive change’ despite condemnation of the system by child poverty groups, churches, women’s’ organisations, the Scottish Government, a United Nation’s special reporter and others. His comments came just a week after new figures revealed that over seven thousand food parcels had been issued by independent foodbanks in Argyll & Bute in the last year. Universal Credit has been attributed by foodbank providers and others as the single greatest reason for the increase in demand for their services in recent months, primarily due to the delay of over a month before the first payment is received. The ‘digital by default’ approach was also highlighted by UN Special Reporter Philip Alston, who stated that it has created a barrier between those with poor digital literacy and their legal entitlements.
Responding to Maurice Corry’s comments, Ross Greer said:
“Maurice is not a stupid man but this was a seriously stupid thing to say when we know that people have taken their own lives after being forced into the Universal Credit system. No credible organisation involved in supporting those in poverty believes this is working. It is wilful delusion to suggest otherwise. Even the United Nations have condemned the UK Government’s cruel approach to the social security system and those dependent on it, so on what basis do the Tories think this is working?
“The unquestionably negative impact of Universal Credit was understood long before it was rolled out across the UK, thanks to the extensive trials in certain communities. As usual, the UK government doggedly refused to accept the reality in front of them and pushed ahead with the roll-out anyway, making the situation much worse. If Maurice Corry, or any other Tory MSP would like to join me on a visit to one of the many foodbanks across the West of Scotland, they will be told in no uncertain terms that the Universal Credit rollout has forced more families to depend on their food parcels. Is that the ‘positive change’ Mr Corry is talking about?”