Updated: Apr 17
East Dunbartonshire MP, Amy Callaghan, has today called on the UK government to improve the “woeful welfare system” that leaves stroke survivors without the necessary financial support.
On her first day back in Westminster after suffering a brain haemorrhage in June 2020, the local MP told the story of Stacey Conlin, from East Dunbartonshire, who was left unable to work following a stroke. Ms Callaghan explained to the minister that despite receiving Universal Credit, her constituent was “unable to pay for the basic necessities we take for granted”.
Ms Callaghan called on the UK government to conduct a review of the levels of Universal Credit.
Universal Credit came in for criticism from anti-poverty charities last year when the Chancellor removed the £20 per week uplift. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said that this was the “the biggest overnight cut to the basic rate of social security since World War II” and that the “main rate of out-of-work support was at its lowest level in real terms since around 1990”.
Callaghan and Conlin met in PDRU at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow when they went through rehab together.
Commenting, Amy Callaghan MP said:
“Experiencing a life changing health condition is traumatic and the road to recovery is hard enough without having to contend with financial hardship. But sadly, Stacey’s story is all too common. That is why Universal Credit must be reviewed and improved.
“The reality is the UK government presides over a woeful welfare system. One that often seems designed to avoid providing the support that people need – be that through the inadequately low levels of payments, convoluted application processes that leave people without money for five weeks, or the cruel private-sector assessments that probe someone’s eligibility.
“It really is a story of two governments, with the Scottish Government creating a social security system that is built on fairness, dignity, and respect. That is why we desperately need the necessary powers over all social security in Holyrood, not reserved to the Tories in Westminster.”