IT has been revealed that 200,000 claimants applied for a benefits advance in 2016, a distressing statistic indeed.

How can a country so rich have people destitute, applying for crisis loans and advances in benefit payments, while MPs visit their subsidised restaurants at Westminster? What is the Westminster Government’s response? Well, we have seen the tragic fall-out from the introduction of Universal Credit (about to roll out in my area, Falkirk), claimants waiting six weeks for payments, some claimants suffering benefit sanctions through no fault of their own, disability benefits being taken away from claimants who were previously awarded benefits for life, the list could go on.

Where is the safety net of our welfare system?

The government at Westminster has much to answer for while it currently spends its time and efforts tackling party in-fighting, not just by back-benchers but also within the Cabinet. It is not just a disgrace – it is a tragedy.

Of the 200,00 claimants, only 100,000 received any advance payment, so what happened to the other 100,000? Where did they turn?

Catriona C Clark