New figures revealed by Job Centre Plus show that people in Dumbarton, the Vale of Leven and Helensburgh and Lomond have received £700,000 in advance payments since Universal Credit began full service.
The data also reveals that almost 2000 advanced payments, which are paid as loans to claimants during their five-week wait for their first payment, have been paid out to people in Dumbarton, Alexandria and Helensburgh since Universal Credit was introduced.
Full roll out of Universal Credit was implemented in Argyll and Bute in September 2018, and in November 2018 in West Dunbartonshire. More than 1700 people have been transitioned over to the new system during that time.
The figures follow reports that scammers are fraudulently claiming advance loans through misuse of the system.
“It is heart-breaking to learn that £700,000 has had to be paid out in advance loan payments since Universal Credit full service was introduced in September and November last year.
“More and more people are being pushed into hardship because of the delays in the system, when they are already struggling – it is clear that this is not a system designed to help those who need it. It is a system that is causing people to choose between heating and eating.
“People who are on Universal Credit shouldn’t be forced into claiming advance payments which they need to pay back. This only pushes them into debt.
“The Tories must halt this shambolic system and take immediate steps to ensure those who need assistance get it.”