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Resilience: Developing Responses to Welfare Reform

Citizens Advice Scotland presents a conference to bring together those involved in welfare reform mitigation at a local and national level.

In the wake of austerity and increasing uncertainty on the horizon, what does resilience mean for Scotland’s citizens and communities? What role does government, the third sector and private companies have to play in preventing crises before they hit? And what can be done at a local level to mitigate the impact of welfare reform?

Citizens Advice Scotland presents a conference to bring together those involved in welfare reform mitigation at a local and national level including government, third sector and private sector to discuss and develop partnerships and policy solutions which enhance resilience amongst Scottish communities and citizens. Covering a broad range of issues including financial services, food security, energy and housing, delegates will hear from a panel of experts and will have the opportunity to explore interventions that can be made in these diverse policy areas to mitigate the impacts of welfare reform.

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Rev Sally Foster-Fulton - Christian Aid Scotland
Professor Douglas Robertson - University of Stirling
Jeff Salway - Financial Services Consumer Panel
Michael Gray - Politics journalist, 4 Common Space and The National


Making finance fair and inclusive

Despite best efforts to improve financial inclusion over a million people in the UK do not have a bank account, 50% of low income households have no contents insurance, 2.5 million use doorstep loans and 400,000 households have rent-to-own products. This can result in a lack of resilience to loss of income or one-off cost shocks. What role can new projects involving credit unions, social enterprises and community finance development initiative play in bringing banking, insurance and more affordable credit to lower income households?

Mitigating welfare reforms through independent advice

Since welfare reforms starting affecting claimants in 2011, the demand for advice at citizens advice bureaux has increased by 13% while benefits-related advice has increased by 19%. Bureaux now provide advice on 930 new benefit and tax credit issues on behalf of clients every working day. This workshop will be an opportunity to explore the role of communities in advice and empowerment, and to consider how advice can be built into the new Social Security System in Scotland.

Housing and social security 

The 2016 Welfare Reform and Work Act introduced a number of changes that will reduce the support available to cover housing costs. These include the lowering of the benefit cap, the reduction of Housing Benefit for tenants in social rented housing, and the removal of support available for those aged 18 to 21. With the rollout of Universal Credit and flexibilities over the housing element being devolved to the Scottish Government, alongside other changes to Scottish housing policy, this workshop will explore opportunities to mitigate the impact of welfare reforms in Scotland and how we can best support people to protect their tenancies and their homes.



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