Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been paid from taxpayers from the Largs area, and the rest of North Ayrshire, to alleviate the effects of Universal Credit on constituents in the district.

These are the stark sums revealed by the ruling North Ayrshire Labour administration whose political party masters have vowed to scrap the controversial scheme.

Universal Credit was fully rolled out in November 2017 and it has caused hardship and misery for many claimants since, Labour leader Joe Cullinane told the 'News'.

It has previously been reported that 80% of council tenants on Universal Credit are now in rent arrears with debts totalling over £860,000.

Many have been forced to use foodbanks and seek other emergency supports, the local Labour group added.

Labour council leader Joe Cullinane said: "The council has been forced to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds, from their reducing budget, to provide additional support for Universal Credit claimants.

"Labour plans to replace Universal Credit with a social security system that focuses on “alleviating and ending poverty, not driving people into it”.

Labour are looking at replacing the Department for Work and Pensions with a Department for Social Security, making a radical shift from a system that “punishes and polices” people to one where social security will support people in finding work and treat them with “dignity and respect”.

Cllr. Cullinane added; ““In government Labour will immediately introduce an emergency package of reforms to end the worse elements of Universal Credit. Gone will be the five week wait for payments. Sanctions will be suspended. No longer will any women be forced to face the indignity of completing a four page form to prove her child was born as a result of rape.

“Labour’s plan will lift thousands out of poverty, including here in North Ayrshire. This is big policy announcement and one that we wholeheartedly support here in North Ayrshire.”