Funds made available to help Fifers affected by Universal Credit roll-out

Fife Council welfare assistants.
Fife Council welfare assistants.

Fife Council has reaffirmed its opposition to the full service roll out of Universal Credit across Fife by putting enhanced arrangements in place to minimise its impact.

The full service roll-out of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) Universal Credit began in Fife on December 4, 2017. Between then and the middle of January 2018, 2,303 claims for Universal Credit were made in the KY postcode area.

Councillor David Alexander, council co-leader, said: “Despite our bitter opposition to Universal Credit it’s here and causing a lot of misery for many people.

“As a council we’ve already allocated around £3 million to help minimise the impact of the UK government’s changes to welfare reform. And in our recent budget for 2018/19 we’ve committed over £600,000.”

Cllr Ross continued: “We’ve expressed our concerns about welfare reform over and over again.

“Our welfare assistants have proved themselves invaluable in providing advice and support to people facing difficulties due to Universal Credit and we’ll be making these posts permanent, along with providing for digital skills and adult basic education.”

Other measures now in place include tailored Scottish Welfare Fund crisis grants for anyone transferring over to Universal Credit.

This is to help support those in, or near, crisis with a particular focus on combating food and fuel poverty, without increasing their debt.

From December 6, 2017 to February 28, 2018 there was a 17.5 per cent increase in overall crisis grant applications compared to the same time last year.

Visit www.fifedirect.org.uk/benefits for help and advice.