CITIZENS Advice chiefs in Scotland have demanded the UK Government carries out a “fundamental” overhaul of the controversial Universal Credit benefit.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has, as well as MPs, outlined the struggles of people who have turned to the Citizens Advice network in Scotland for help.

The charity has outlined six key reforms to the benefit, including reducing the five-week wait for the first payment to no more than two weeks.

It also wants to see a grant payment introduced to cover the assessment period, replacing the current advance payment loans that it says are pushing people into debt.

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CAS has also called on the DWP to ensure people can complete the claim application and maintenance process offline.

And it argues that work allowances should apply to all Universal Credit recipients, not just those with children or a limiting health condition

The work allowance means an eligible person can earn up to a certain amount of money a month without any financial impact on the amount they receive through Universal Credit.

CAS social justice spokesperson Mhoraig Green said: “We need to see significant changes to the way the Universal Credit is designed and delivered to ensure it supports the people who need it.

“There are issues with how long people have to wait for a first payment, people being pushed into further debt, and the digital by default system which locks out people who don’t have the skills or means to apply and maintain their claim online.

“We need fundamental reforms to the system to address these issues.”