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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.

News

  1. 21 Jun 2017

  2. 19 Jun 2017

    Citizens Advice Scotland is today meeting with a number of organisations to discuss how to improve the use of medical evidence in the social security system

  3. 30 May 2017

    The Scottish Government has announced that the first devolved benefits to be delivered by the new Scottish Social Security Agency will be a supplementary payment to increase Carers Allowance, together with benefits to replace the existing Sure Start Maternity Grant and Funeral Payments. The new benefits are planned to begin in 2018 and 2019.

Publications

  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. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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