FIFE COUNCIL has reaffirmed its opposition to the approach taken to Welfare Reform and to the implementation of Universal Credit, calling for the roll out of Universal Credit to be suspended.

The roll out of Universal Credit in Fife is due to start on 6 December with the Cowdenbeath area involved.

Fife Council Co-Leader Cllr. David Alexander said: “We are living in a time where there are unacceptable levels of poverty in our society. The roll out of Universal Credit is going to make this even worse.

“It will have a massive impact on individuals and families across Fife who receive benefits, especially in the run-up to Christmas. It’s likely that any new claimants will have to wait six weeks before they get any money, meaning they won’t get anything until January".

Cllr. David Ross, Fife Council Co-Leader added: ““Poverty is an issue that impacts on everyone – from local shops and businesses who have to close because people have little disposable income – to those who find themselves with debt they can’t handle.

“As a council we’re committed to doing everything we can to help people who find themselves struggling as a result of the introduction of Universal Credit over the Christmas period and for the longer term.

“I’d urge anyone who will be moving over to Universal Credit to make sure they know who and where they can get help; a great starting point is where you can also download our Guide to Universal Credit."

The leaders pointed out that if you don’t have a computer at home, computers are available and free to use at all of Fife’s libraries. Alternatively if you’re having problems with your benefits, difficulty budgeting, or problems with debt, you can go along to your the Citizens Advice and Rights Fife office at The Fountain in Cowdenbeath or call them on 03451 400 095 .

MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, Lesley Laird, has also aired her concerns at the effect of the introduction of Universal Credit.