UNIVERSAL Credit will lead to poverty and hardship for thousands of people in Glasgow when it is rolled out, a government minister has warned.

The controversial new benefit payment system which rolls several benefits into one payment, is due to come to Glasgow between later this month and the end of the year.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, Social Security Cabinet Secretary, has warned it is going to have a serious impact on people and their communities.

Later this month the roll out is to start in Govan, Laurieston and Newlands Jobcentres with Partick and Springburn next month followed by Drumchapel, Castlemilk and Shettleston in December.

Ms Somerville told a conference of the National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers in Glasgow he fears based on evidence of where the benefit has been already used.

She said: “Based on the evidence of impacts we have seen in other areas of Scotland where Universal Credit has been introduced, I remain extremely concerned about the impact this will have on some of Scotland’s most vulnerable people and the communities in which they live.

“Without addressing the fundamental flaws with the system, Universal Credit is likely to lead to significant, material increases in poverty, hardship and destitution.”

She has called on the UK Government to halt the roll out until all issues with implementation have been addressed.

She said that in other areas there has been an increase in rent arrears with some council landlords reporting an almost 50% rise in arrears.

Food banks have reported a huge increase in demand when Universal credit is implemented as there is a wait of between four and six weeks for a first payment, leaving people with no money.

The minister added :” “The latest figures show that, here in Glasgow as of July, there were 6,200 people on Universal Credit.

“This number will ramp up significantly as more people move onto Full Service and it is not at all clear that DWP will be able to manage this significant increase in volume and workload. That means many, many Glaswegians facing increased anxiety and hardship.

“We are committed to using our limited powers to improve things, giving people choices over how they receive their payments and delivering split payments. We are doing what we can. But it is only with full powers over welfare that we will be able to fully help our most deprived communities.”

Universal Credit has been rolling out across the UK since 2013.

It replaces income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Child Tax Credits,Working Tax Credits and Housing Benefit