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Publications

  1. Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    April 2018

    Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes the publication of the Bill and agrees with its general principles. The devolution of social security powers is an extremely significant development in the history of the Scottish Parliament and represents a unique opportunity to create a new system that has the potential to make a positive difference for tens of thousands of Scotland’s citizens.

  2. CAS response to Scottish Government consultation
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    April 2018

    Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes the opportunity to comment on the draft rules for the new Scottish Social Security Tribunals. We support a Tribunal continuing to be the forum for final dispute resolution within the Scottish social security system, and compared with some other aspects of the current system, the Tribunal system is relatively well-regarded by CAB clients and advisers.

  3. Briefing for the Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    February 2018

    Citizens Advice Scotland supports a number of amendments, including to make sure all new benefit payments are uprated annually with the cost of living; and to make sure no-one is criminalised for genuine error.

  4. Briefing for the Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    February 2018

    Citizens Advice Scotland supports a number of amendments, including those streamlining the re-determination and appeals process to make it easier for individuals to challenge a decision; to make sure all new benefit payments are uprated annually with the cost of living; to make sure no-one is criminalised for genuine error; and to make sure no one has to make a large repayment for an error caused by no fault of their own.

  5. Briefing for the Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    February 2018

    Citizens Advice Scotland supports a number of amendments, including those creating an independent expert Scottish Commission on Social Security to scrutinise regulations, and to clarify that people should always have a choice of receiving a benefit payment in cash, unless they explicitly choose to receive it 'in kind'.

  6. Briefing for the Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    January 2018

    Citizens Advice Scotland supports a number of amendments, including those recognising the role of independent advice, to promote benefit take-up and income maximisation; and to require inclusive and accessible communications with individuals using the system.

  7. Briefing for MSPs
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    December 2017

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) welcomes the general principles of the Bill which has the potential to create a new social security system that will make a positive difference for tens of thousands of Scotland’s citizens. There are, however, a number of areas that could be included on the face of the Bill as opposed to being left to regulations and guidance.

  8. Briefing from Citizens Advice Scotland
    Rhiannon Sims
    Publication date:
    September 2017

    Citizens Advice Scotland is calling for a freeze in the roll out of Universal Credit (UC) until serious policy and administrative issues have been addressed, to ensure that the positive principles behind Universal Credit can be achieved.

  9. Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee call for evidence
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    August 2017

     In 2016/17, Scotland’s CAB network provided advice on 94,301 new issues relating to the benefits being devolved, representing 37% of benefits advice given, or 16% of all advice given by Scotland’s citizens advice bureaux in that year. CAS has provided a substantial body of evidence based on CAB clients and advisers’ daily experiences of engaging with the current system, together with their priorities for the new Scottish system.We look forward to continuing to work with the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government to ensure the new system is fair, equal and responsive with Scotland’s citizens at the heart of it.

  10. Study on the affordability of water and sewerage charges based on low income households
    Rebecca Millar
    Publication date:
    June 2017

    The Consumer Futures Unit of Citizens Advice Scotland is inviting tenders for research into a Study on the affordability of water and sewerage charges based on low income households

     

     

  11. The role of medical evidence in the benefits system
    Rhiannon Sims
    Publication date:
    June 2017

    Our ‘Burden of Proof’ report explores the role that medical evidence plays in assessing ill health and disability benefits, from the perspective of Citizens Advice Bureaux clients, advisers and some of the professionals involved.

  12. Scottish Parliament Local Government and Communities Communities Committee
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    June 2017

    Though not the only driver of homelessness, the past five years have seen a large increase in the number of rent arrears issues dealt with by Scotland’s CAB network. CAS is commencing research to examine the causes and consequences of rent arrears for CAB clients, including those who become homeless as a result. This submission examines CAB data related to homelessness and rent arrears, as well as some of the causes of rent arrears that can lead to evictions and homelessness.

  13. Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    May 2017

    In November 2016, the Benefit Cap was reduced to £384.62 per week for families. Official figures suggest that 3,642 households in Scotland will have their housing support capped as a result of the lowering of the Cap, compared with 745 households prior to
    the change.

  14. Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee inquiry
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    May 2017

    CAS is generally concerned about the restriction on families to only being able to claim Child Tax Credits or Universal Credit for two children. Advice on Child Tax Credits is one of the most common issues that clients seek advice on, with 13,363 new issues during the year, an increase of 14% compared with the previous 12 months. A CAB client profile survey in November 2016 showed that 9.3% of clients (1 in every 11) who were given advice on an issue related to Child Tax Credits were from a large family, with three or more dependent children.

  15. Work and Pensions Committee Inquiry
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    April 2017

    In November 2016, the Benefit Cap was reduced to £384.62 per week for families.

    Official estimates suggest that 5,000 households in Scotland will have their housing support capped as a result of the lowering of the Cap, compared with 745 households prior to the change.

  16. Peter Beckett
    Publication date:
    March 2017

    As part of the Scottish Government funding to help bureaux mitigate the impact of Social Security changes, CAS commissioned an external researcher to carry out qualitative research to increase our understanding of:

    • The main drivers of effective partnerships between bureaux and other organisations in reaching out to individuals
    • The benefits to the organisations involved
    • The added-value for clients supported.

    The study also set out to capture the impact on individuals and the bureaux as a result of the changes to social security benefits and the roll out of Universal Credit. 

  17. Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee call for evidence
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    March 2017

    Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence to inform the Committee’s consideration of the Bill. Scotland’s CAB Service sees the effects of child poverty on a daily basis, and the majority of advice provided by citizens advice bureaux in Scotland relates to issues related to maximising low incomes, particularly access to social security benefits and dealing with problem debt.

  18. CAS response to Work and Pensions Committee inquiry
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    March 2017

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) welcomes the opportunity to provide evidence to the Committee’s inquiry. In 2015/16, citizens advice bureaux in Scotland advised clients on 227,561 new issues related to social security benefits. Of those, 98,699 (43%) related to the six legacy benefits that are due to be replaced by Universal Credit. It is likely that Universal Credit will eventually become the largest single issue that Scotland’s CAB Network provides advice on, and in areas where Full Service Universal Credit has already been rolled out, it is quickly beginning to take up a significant proportion of CAB advisers’ time.

     

  19. Response to Scottish Government consultation
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    March 2017

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) warmly welcomes the opportunity to respond to this consultation. These draft regulations represent the first piece of legislation as part of the social security powers devolved to the Scottish Government under the Scotland Act 2016. The use of the Universal Credit flexibilities has been of considerable interest to CAS, alongside the wider rollout of Universal Credit, which is already a significant impact on many CAB clients.

  20. UK Government consultation
    Rhiannon Sims and Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    February 2017

    CAS welcomes the Government’s ambition to reduce the disability employment gap, which is important in ensuring equality, fairness in the workplace and helping people with disabilities and health conditions maximise their incomes. However, it should be recognised that there are people who will not be able to undertake paid work because of their condition or impairment, in a number of cases for the remainder of their life.

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