UNIVERSAL Credit has been one of the biggest and most controversial changes in Glasgow in recent years.

Foodbanks have cited the five week wait as a reason for a rise in demand and Citizens advice Scotland has said it is repeatedly raised with advisers.

The benefit was first rolled out in Glasgow last year in a phased approach and every week brought new tales of hardship and difficulty accessing the application process.

Universal credit is a benefit reserved to Westminster and the responsibility of UK Government.

According to Citizens advice Scotland concerns are heightened around the five week wait for a payment, deductions form payments and increasing rent arrears because of the payment in arrears system.

Citizens advice said the five week wait punished people with no savings and with no family or friends to borrow from.

In Glasgow 18,000 emergency payments have been given by the DWP since the roll out totalling more than £6m.

In Shettleston Jobcentre area, where Universal Credit only came more than 3,800 people  sought help with payments totalling than £1.5m.

We asked candidates of the main parties standing in Glasgow seats for their opinion of Universal Credit and what needs to change

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Patricia Ferguson, Labour Glasgow North West candidate, said there will be 13,000 people in North West struggling by the time the benefit is fully rolled out.

She said: “ We are seeing people pushed into poverty and to foodbanks because of a bad system.

“Labour will scrap it. We will introduce an emergency package of reform and then legislate to scrap it and replace it with a fair system that will end poverty and guarantee a minimum standard of living.

“The online application doesn’t work. We will recruit 5000 advisors across the UK for telephone and face to face support.”

Chris Stephens, SNP candidate for Glasgow South West said: “Two of the biggest failures of the social security system have been the two child tax credit limit and Universal credit. And the five week wait.

“These have to be fixed. The advance payment is a loan but it should be the first payment. People are needing assistance with computer literacy and we are seeing an increased reliance on foodbanks.

“The SNP wants to fix the problems then build a fair system based on need.”

Carole Ford, Liberal Democrat Glasgow South candidate said:“Universal credit has been a universal failure. It has helped push thousands more people into poverty.

“The roll out has been botched. This wasn’t an accident, but the result of the Conservatives’ cruel policies which sought to balance the books on the backs of the poorest.

“People have every right to demand better. Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for an urgent end to the benefits freeze and the restoration of the billions the Tories’ siphoned off Universal Credit since 2015.”

Elaine Gallagher, Scottish Greens Candidate for Glasgow Central said: “Universal credit has caused untold misery. The policy, conceived by the Lib Dem and Tory coalition, is vindictive.

"Since its introduction, the number of people forced into rent arrears has skyrocketed while thousands of families have been forced to rely on foodbanks. My own experience of Universal Credit has been exactly that, with benefit caps pushing me into debt while clawbacks have made it impossible to live on the low-paid jobs that are available.

“ Our proposal for a universal citizen’s income would be transformational, ending the current bureaucratic nightmare and replacing it with a system that provides the support everyone requires.”