The roll-out of universal credit should have been halted sooner by the UK Government, says Clydebank's MSP.

Gil Paterson said while it was obviously the correct decision to delay the next stage of the roll out, the damage had already been done for new claimants and those whose circumstances have changed.

The House of Commons was due to vote on proposals to move a further three million claimants onto the universal credit by summer 2019, but this will now be postponed, with Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd seeking approval to move just 10,000 onto the new system.

Mr Paterson told the Post: “Of course it is a good thing that the UK Government have finally been forced to accept that they’ve botched the roll out of universal credit, but it shouldn’t have taken this long for them to listen to the SNP and the huge number of anti-poverty charities who’ve been telling them from the start.

“It’s just a pity that they didn’t do it in the first place before causing the untold stress and misery to those already suffering who’ve been pushed into poverty, debt and destitution at the hands of the heartless Tories and includes many low paid working people.

“This is what happens when elected politicians are so out of touch with the lives of ordinary people. What did the Tories expect when the UK Treasury cut £3 billion per year from the welfare budget?”

“This is a perfect example of why all powers over welfare should be transferred to the Scottish Parliament."

The SNP MSP added: "This coming financial year, the Scottish Government will spend over £125 million to protect the most vulnerable people in society from UK Government cuts.

"All right-minded Scottish politicians should be calling for devolution of welfare powers now.”

A United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty recently made a scathing attack on universal credit warning that the system was “mean spirited and often callous”.