MSPs have called for the scrapping of Universal Credit in a Holyrood vote.

After a debate brought by Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard, MSPs passed a motion calling for the controversial benefit system to be rolled back. The motion, which was amended by Social Security

Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville, right, passed by 65 votes to 46.

During the debate, some members hit out at the flagship UK Government policy, saying it made people poorer, hurt the most deprived and those with poor mental health, and made it harder to find work. 

Universal Credit was intended to streamline the benefits system, bringing together several other payments into just one.

But it has drawn criticism for several of its features, including the need for some claimants to wait up to five weeks for their first payment.

READ MORE: Glasgow tenants' union Living Rent launches campaign to prevent universal credit evictions

Mr Leonard said: “This Parliament has the opportunity to unite and call for the scrapping of the Universal Credit system.

“This is a system that has delivered so much hardship and even destitution to so many people across Scotland and the UK. I appeal to members of this Parliament, on all sides, do not wilfully ignore the evidence that is in front of you.”

The Scottish Labour leader pointed to the plight of a man brought to his attention by Citizens Advice Scotland, who suffers from severe anxiety, has no access to the internet and relies on crisis grants and food parcels to survive.

Mr Leonard said the man in question is sanctioned by the DWP when he does not fill in his online journal, which aims to keep track of the progress of jobseekers.

Ms Somerville tabled an amendment which also passed by 65 votes to 46, which said an independent Scotland would “ensure that Scotland has a social security system that is built with the people of Scotland to meet their needs”.

Tabling a counter-amendment to the motion, Tory spokeswoman for social security Michelle Ballantyne described Universal Credit as “the best way forward for benefits in this country”, pointing to cross-party support when it was first outlined almost a decade ago.