North Ayrshire’s council tenants on Universal Credit are continuing to end up debt.

Since April 1 2018, Universal Credit rent arrears have increased by £356,433 meaning the first year of Universal Credit full service has resulted in a whopping rent arrears debt of £729,457 for UC claimants in North Ayrshire Council tenancies.

An incredible 82 per cent of council tenants in receipt of Universal Credit are in rent arrears.

North Ayrshire Labour say this shows the universal benefit is ‘completely broken’ while Conservatives claimed there was ‘little reason’ why they should be in arrears on the benefit.

Labour council leader Joe Cullinane said: “These figures are a damning indictment of the Tories flagship welfare policy.

“North Ayrshire Labour warned that Universal Credit would have an adverse impact on some of our most vulnerable residents but it is getting clearer all the time that Universal Credit is completely broken.

“Universal Credit is pushing families into debt and that will only lead to an increase in poverty, hardship and anxiety.”

Conservative Group Leader Tom Marshall said: “Universal Credit is a better, modern benefit that replaces an old system that disincentivised work. It is based on the principles that work should always pay and those who need support receive it. But we also need the system to be fair to taxpayers and sustainable for the future.

“Given that Council Tenants receive in person their rent payment as part of their UC there is little reason for rents to be in arrears. There are of course other tenants who for other reasons are in rent arrears as well as others with Council Tax Arrears.

“However, we are listening to concerns and improving the UC system as we roll it out."