Sturgeon: Universal credit roll-out is morally repugnant
Thousands of people have had to wait longer than they should have for payments.
The UK Government's decision to roll-out universal credit despite problems with the system is "morally repugnant," the First Minister has said.
Nicola Sturgeon made the comments after it emerged nine Scottish councils have set aside almost £9m to deal with issues relating to the new benefit.
Universal credit merges six separate benefits into one but thousands in trial areas have had to wait longer than the standard six weeks for payment, a period already criticised as too long by campaigners.
The House of Commons voted by a margin of 299 to zero to stop the nationwide roll-out but the motion was non-binding and the UK Government intends to continue with the expansion.
The First Minister said the saga shows "the sooner we get all of welfare powers" devolved to Holyrood "the better."
Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Maree Todd raised the matter at Holyrood on Thursday and said many people are being left in "dire financial straits" during the benefit's trial in Inverness.
Sturgeon told MSPs: "The fact that the UK Government is refusing to pause the implementation of universal credit, knowing that they are pushing already vulnerable people into debt, into rent arrears, making it difficult for parents to put food on the table to feed their children, is not just morally unacceptable it is morally repugnant.
"I think every Conservative should be deeply ashamed of this."
She added: "The fact of the matter is universal credit is not working, that is being demonstrated in the pilot areas.
"So we need to see a pause to universal credit and we need to see that happen now before any other person has to suffer the indignities and the anxieties so many have already suffered."