UNIVERSAL Credit could push people to pay day lenders or even loan sharks, a Glasgow MSP has warned.

The controversial benefit is currently being phased in across Glasgow and there are fears it will lead to deeper poverty, rent arrears and debt.

Claimants need to wait at least four weeks for a first payment and some may have delays.

While claimants can apply for an advance in the form of a loan they are encouraged to find other sources of cash first the MSP said.

Bob Doris Maryhill and Springburn SNP MSP said he held an advice surgery in Possilpark on Universal Credit.

He told the Scottish Parliament during a debate that the advance was not automatic.

He said: “An advance payment can be provided but it’s a loan that must be paid back. People are asked if they can borrow money from family or friends r from another source.

“Are we asking people to go to a pay day lender when they are out of work?”

Mr Doris worried that some people unable to get credit may seek other forms of borrowing.

He added: “There are some unsavoury people they could go to when they are asked to seek alternative loans.”

He said that almost £4bn will have been removed from the social security spending in Scotland by 2021.

This, Mr Doris said, was “pushing families below the breadline. It is unacceptable, ideologically driven and deliberately designed to ensure those waiting are left without funds.”

for Labour, Pauline McNeill, Glasgow MSP, said the system being implemented is nothing like what former work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith envisaged.

She said the Tories has 2 removed billions of pounds from the welfare budget.

Ms McNeill said: “Universal Credit must be halted if we are to tackle poverty in this country . There are two many changed needed before it can actually work.”

Glasgow’s two Conservative MSPs meanwhile said Universal Credit was working and the UK Government was listening to concerns and making the necessary improvements.

Adam Tomkins, said: “Under Universal Credit, claimants are more likely to be in work and stay in work longer and earn higher wages. That is three reasons why it is working on the ground.”

Annie Wells said changes had been made.

She said: “I called for measures to be put in place and for reform before full roll out.

“The UK government will and has listened to concerns as it is rolled out.”