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MSPs are right to act on 'devastating' welfare reforms

Citizens Advice Scotland have welcomed the news that Scottish Parliament committees are taking action to prepare Scots for the devastating impact of the UK Parliament’s Welfare Reform Bill.

A number of Holyrood committees have announced measures aimed at mitigating the impact of the reforms, after taking substantial evidence from CAS and other charities.

CAS spokesman Matt Lancashire, who gave evidence to the committee and is quoted in their report, says:

“We are pleased that the Health and Sport committee and others have listened to our concerns on the UK welfare reform bill. CAS has been the lead organisation urging the Scottish Parliament to establish a special Welfare Reform committee. It looks like MSPs have listened to that. We hope that this committee can be set up as soon as possible, to mitigate the impacts of the Welfare Reform Bill and put in place the support services that people will need.

“It’s hard to over-stress the devastating impact this Bill will have on Scotland. There is no doubt that some aspects of the welfare system needed reform, but some of these changes are set to hit the most vulnerable people in our society - including pensioners, parents with young children and sick and disabled people. £2billion will be lost to the Scottish economy as a whole. £1bn of that will be taken from those who are so severely disabled that they need help with their most basic living costs.

“With both the people and economy of Scotland taking a huge financial blow, it is the CAB service that many people will turn to for support and help. It is vital therefore that Local Authorities continue to fully fund the CAB and that advice services become part of any additional funding available from the Scottish Government’s ‘preventative spend‘ budget. Without those pots of funding our bureaux would struggle to meet the increased demand they will undoubtedly see when these reforms hit, and those people affected will have nowhere to turn.”

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