The National:

HE claims he has been "up and down the country" – but the UK Minister of State for Employment just admitted he hasn't bothered to visit Scotland as part of the flagship Universal Credit roll out.

In the Commons, SNP MP David Linden asked Alok Sharma when he planned on visiting Glasgow to hear what local housing associations have to say about the welfare reform – but it turned out the minister hadn't even made it north of the Border yet.

"Mr Speaker I apologise if I haven’t been to Scotland yet," Sharma said above jeers in the Chamber. "I hope I will put that right in near time."

Unaware of the hole he was digging for himself, the MP for Reading West continued. "But I have been going up and down the country to job centres talking to them and I have to say to him that it is working. Universal credit is working."

Scottish Twitter was quick to respond to Sharma's comments.

It's not been a smooth week for Universal Credit. First it was announced that the system, which was supposed to be up and running by April 2017, was facing yet more delays – and now the man implementing it seems to have forgotten the geographic makeup of the UK. 

The new welfare reform rolls six benefits into one and has faced harsh criticism since it was first announced eight years ago.

Its roll out has drawn even more controversy, with MPs across party lines calling for it to be scrapped amid reports of five-week delays to claimants' initial payments. The new system is expected to lower the incomes of 3.2 million people, according to The Resolution Foundation.