COUNCIL chiefs will dip into contingency funds to help East Renfrewshire’s Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) deal with the Universal Credit (UC) rollout.

The bureau will receive £22,288 of public cash to make up a shortfall in funding for its Helping East Renfrewshire Online (HERO) project.

That’s after the service received 73 requests to help struggling residents apply for UC online in just two months – almost four times the expected amount.

East Renfrewshire Council has already agreed to make £200,000 available from its welfare contingency fund every year until 2021 for advice, housing and money services relating to UC.

Councillor Paul O’Kane, the council’s deputy leader, said: “The reason we put the fund in place was to ensure we had support for people who are subject to the welfare programme. I would much rather we weren’t spending this money and we were just funding the CAB in the normal way.”

Universal Credit was rolled-out across East Renfrewshire on September 26. The changes mean anyone who previously received a legacy benefit, such as jobseekers allowance, will be paid Universal Credit if they are of working age and claiming for the first time, or if they report a change in circumstances.