CLYDEBANK’S MP has met housing associations to plan ways to reduce the impact Universal Credit has on families ahead of the roll-out at the end of the month.

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP has been working with staff from Bellsmyre and Cordale Housing Associations as well as advice and welfare agencies that offer assistance to residents experiencing difficulties with benefits.

The MP discussed the importance of early intervention with tenants having rent payment problems, and of extensive communication on the run-up to the roll-out of Universal Credit.

The new benefit system is going “full service” at job centres in Clydebank and Dumbarton from November 28, and local groups have been preparing for the impact this will have on West Dunbartonshire residents.

Mr Docherty-Hughes said: “With the full roll-out of Universal Credit in West Dunbartonshire fast approaching, I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with the housing teams at Bellsmyre and Cordale housing associations to discuss how this will impact local residents.

“Universal Credit is the UK Government’s flagship welfare policy, but as it’s being implemented across the UK we’re seeing increasing evidence of the hardship it’s causing, especially amongst vulnerable claimants.

“It’s regrettable that the Prme Minister hasn’t listened to calls to halt the roll-out, so we must be as prepared as possible.

“As the local MP, I will be working closely with local housing associations and advice and welfare agencies across West Dunbartonshire.”

Bellsmyre and Cordale offer welfare benefit support services, delivered in partnership with the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Kevin Nixon, area housing manager for both housing associations, said: “We are delighted Martin Docherty-Hughes has taken time out of his busy parliamentary schedule to discuss with us at an operational, front-line level the issues that our tenants and the association are expecting as a consequence of the roll-out of Universal Credit in our area.

“It is important there remains focus on these new UK welfare reform arrangements by our elected members and appropriate adjustments to the provisions are considered which help further mitigate any identified risks to tenants and family wellbeing.”

Q&A: How to prepare for the introduction of Universal Credit

What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit system being introduced by the Department of Work and Pensions. Instead of individual payments for various benefits you may be receiving, under UC you will now receive a single monthly payment covering them all. This payment will cover income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, housing benefit, working tax credit, child tax credit, income-based employment support allowance and income support.
How do I make a new claim?
UC is an online system. You need to make your claim at
What do I need to make a claim?
Make sure you have your National Insurance number, bank details, your email address and information about your rent, your income or savings and any childcare costs all to hand. You will need all of this information to successfully submit a claim.
How much will I receive?
Each claimant gets a standard personal allowance, and may be entitled to more depending on their circumstances. Circumstances that affect the amount you receive include your housing costs, if you are a carer, your childcare costs, if you have disabled children and if you are ill or disabled yourself.
You will receive the maximum award if your household has no other earnings and your savings or capital is £6,000 or less.
If you or someone in your household has other earnings and/or savings, these will be taken into account when working out your UC payment.
Will my rent still be paid?
Yes, but it won’t be paid to your landlord automatically. It will be your responsibility to pay your landlord but you will have the option to request these payments are made directly to your landlord on your behalf.
Stephen Brooks of Working4U