Calls are being made to halt the roll out of Universal Credit in Cumnock and Doon Valley.

Local politicians are worried the scheme will plunge residents into debt, poverty and despair and having to turn to foodbanks to survive.

Now Councillor Jim Roberts is begging the UK Government to halt the flagship welfare policy out of fear for his constituents. 

Speaking at a meeting of the Ballochmyle SNP in Auchinleck he attacked the dogma of the Tories in driving ahead with their Welfare Reform agenda.

He said: "After nine years of political dogma to drive through their welfare reform agenda, we should be thankful that Amber Rudd has finally recognised what every anti-poverty organisation has been telling the Tories for years, that Universal Credit is driving people to turn to foodbanks to survive and driving them into debt and poverty.”

He added “However she (Amber Rudd) has not put forward any suggestions as to how to halt this this so now must take the action required and stop the roll out of Universal Credit until all the issues surrounding the benefit can be fixed.”

“In East Ayrshire last year around 6000 people had to rely on Foodbanks at one point or another to get by. Around 1500 of those were children.

"This is not acceptable in a society as rich as ours. No family should have to rely on foodbanks. Remember there were no such thing as Foodbanks prior to the Tories winning the 2010 UK General Election.

Cumnock Chronicle:

"Now they are being used to prop up their failing Welfare Reform agenda with complete disregard for the people who are forced to use Foodbanks to get by”

And he warned that the rise in Foodbank usage could be about to get much worse.

He said: “In the summer those people of working age who are currently living on benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance could start to migrate over onto Universal Credit.

"This will include some of the most vulnerable people in our society who will have difficulty negotiating their way through a complex benefits system. “