Furious activists have called for the “destruction” of Universal Credit as the controversial benefit is rolled out across Dundee and Angus.
Universal Credit encompasses six benefit provisions into one and is currently being introduced to regions across Scotland.
On Wednesday, campaigners staged a protest calling for Scottish politicians to reject the roll-out.
Members of the Scottish Unemployed Worker’s Network and Dundee Against Austerity met in Dundee city centre to express concerns.
Dr Tony Cox, of the Scottish Unemployed Worker’s Network, said: “Our biggest concern is that it’s having a major impact on people’s mental health.
“There is going to be enormous costs placed upon the NHS because of the havoc the welfare reforms are creating.
“We get stories on a regular basis of people who have attempted suicide or who are contemplating suicide as a direct result of the welfare reforms.
“Universal Credit is designed to make your life so unpleasant when you’re on it than you’ll do anything rather than be on it.”
Former SNP councillor Jimmy Black, who chaired Dundee’s Fairness Commission report, said: “Universal Credit might have been a good idea, but they’ve taken so much money out of it through cuts and have made it so difficult to claim, that people are effectively destitute for several weeks and months.
“It’s going to be really tough for people.”
Dundee West minister Gordon Sharp attended reports on the roll-out and believes many Dundonians are going to be negatively impacted.
He told The Courier: “A lot of people are going to be worse off.
“I was gobsmacked the number of people who are going to be worse off.”
Universal Credit will not be introduced in Perth and Kinross until April.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been approached for comment.