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Cameron’s vision of welfare reform ‘worlds away from reality’

Citizens Advice Scotland have said the Prime Minister’s vision of welfare reforms, outlined in his Dartford speech today, is ‘worlds away’ from the reality of how the reforms are impacting on the lives of CAB clients.

CAS Head of Policy Susan McPhee said:

“The Prime Minister’s speech today describes a welfare reform process that has been universally positive and has led to improvements for everyone. This is worlds away from the evidence we see in bureaux across Scotland.

“Mr Cameron talks proudly of how ‘tens of thousands of disabled people have been found ready for work.’ But he doesn’t mention the fact that the government has itself admitted that 40% of those decisions were wrong, and were later over-turned on appeal. Nor does he talk about the misery and disruption those people suffered in the months before the error was put right.

“And when he talks about how the government is ‘making sure that work really pays’ he doesn’t explain how that squares with the changes made to Tax Credits two months ago – changes which take up to £4,000 out of the pockets of 85,000 working Scottish families.

“Scottish bureaux are in the frontline of helping those who are being hit by the welfare reforms. The evidence we see is of thousands of the most vulnerable people losing out – including sick and disabled people, pensioners and families on low incomes.

“In his speech the Prime Minister repeatedly says that those who need help must receive it. On the evidence we see every day, that is simply not happening. Before he starts rolling out even more drastic reforms, he needs to address the flaws in the system which are causing misery and poverty to many vulnerable people.”

For more information, interviews etc., please contact Tony Hutson on 0131 550 1010 or 07774 751655.