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Spotlight on: Social Security benefits

CAS believes that aspects of UK welfare changes will be damaging to Scotland’s people, services, and economy. 

Welfare reform, public service cuts, and the economic climate are combining to place enormous pressure on public services and advice services. On top of this, reductions in benefit levels and eligibility will inevitably drive demand for advice provision at the same time as cuts are being felt across the public and voluntary sectors. Local government and voluntary services may have to pick up the pieces for those affected by welfare reform – all on a shrinking budget.

As client issues with welfare also create problems in many other areas of life including debt, housing, consumer and relationship issues, we expect welfare reform changes to put exceptional pressure on advice services and other areas of the third sector across the country. Early intervention, such as good advice, ultimately saves money – debt and welfare advice is significantly cheaper than homelessness and bankruptcy, and the social outcomes for clients are far better. Local authorities, the Scottish CAB Service and other organisations across the third and public sectors have a shared agenda in helping local people avoid crisis point and are increasingly working in partnership to achieve positive outcomes for the people and communities of Scotland.


  1. 27 Feb 2017

    After hearing from over 500 organisations and individuals about what should be done when Scotland gains new powers over social security benefits – including CAS’ substantial submission based on CAB evidence – the Scottish Government last week gave the clearest indication yet on what they plan to do when they gain control over the benefits, and how the new social security system might look. This includes new details about the shape of the new system as well as announcements on issues that CAB clients and advisers told us are top priorities for change.

  2. 23 Feb 2017

    Citizens Advice Scotland has welcomed the Scottish Government’s statement on the newly devolved Social Security system.

  3. 13 Feb 2017

    On Wednesday 8th February, Frank Mosson, manager of Bridgeton Citizens Advice Bureaux gave evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee in Westminster on the proposed Glasgow Jobcentre closures.


  1. Citizens Advice Scotland has published the first ever impact report detailing the positive contribution the service makes to Scottish society.
    CAS communications

    Publication date: October 2016

    In our first report of this kind, we demonstrate the impact of the Scottish Citizens Advice service on the 310,000-plus clients who received help in 2015/16, as well as touching on the wider benefits of our work to the rest of society.

  2. 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. 

  3. 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.

  4. 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.


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