Over three quarters (77 per cent) of people in Scotland believe workers who have to claim benefits work hard but their wages are not enough to cover living costs, according to myth-busting new polling from YouGov for Citizens Advice Scotland.
Counter to the ‘strivers and skivers’ narrative when it comes to benefits, the polling suggests that people believe that stagnant wages and the cost of living crisis are a reason for workers claiming support through social security.
The polling has also found that three quarters (75 per cent) of respondents either strongly agree or tend to agree that people who are in work and receive benefits work just as hard as everyone else, and almost seven-tenths (69 per cent) of people agree that there should be more help for people to claim what they are entitled to.
Citizens Advice Scotland has released the polling ahead of launching ‘For Your Benefit’ this coming week.
The campaign seeks to challenge perceptions around people claiming what they are entitled to, and encouraging members of the public to get a financial health check through Citizens Advice Scotland.
The financial health check involves a short confidential interview with a CAB adviser and is available free to anyone who asks for it, or any CAB client whose adviser feels might benefit from it either through a free phone number or in local bureau.
Citizens Advice Scotland Chief Executive Derek Mitchell said:
"The Scottish Citizens Advice network helps hundreds of thousands of people every year and we see a lot of people avoiding or putting off sorting out their problems because they are ashamed or embarrassed.
“This polling busts a series of myths around social security, and shows that the vast majority of people believe that our welfare state is there to help workers who need a hand, especially as the cost of living is soaring while wages have remained broadly the same.
“People should be claiming what they are due. That’s how the system works, we all pay in and get support when we need it.
“That’s why, later this week Citizens Advice Scotland will launch the ‘For Your Benefit’ campaign and encourage people to check they are getting what they are entitled to. People can call 0800 085 7145 or pop into their local bureau for a free, confidential, financial health check with a trained adviser.” ENDS
NOTES TO EDITORS
All figures are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1012 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 26th - 28th March 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+).
Scots views on Peoples' Reasons for claiming benefits
They have just been unlucky with their circumstances (e.g. with unexpected debts) - 36.53%
They need extra to look after themselves/ a family member (e.g. childcare costs, illness etc.) - 59.49%
They are lazy and don't want to work more than they currently do - 18.15%
They work hard but their wages are not enough to cover their living costs - 77.39%
None of these- 0.97%
Don't know - 7.08%
Prefer not to say - 1.48% Further details of this research available on request.