Citizens Advice Scotland have said the Chancellor’s latest plans for benefit claimants are putting further pressure on some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland.
CAS Chief Executive Margaret Lynch says,
“We support any measures that are genuinely aimed at helping people to find work. But there is little evidence that these plans would actually achieve this. The problem is that there are too few jobs available, but these measures will not address that. All they will do is pile even more pressure on the most vulnerable people in our society. People who are already struggling on very low incomes.
“There is already a great deal of ‘conditionality’ in the benefit system, and in the CAB service we have seen a lot of evidence that people are being sanctioned unfairly – with many people having their benefits cut even though they are trying very hard to get work. So we’re not just sceptical about these new rules in principle, we are also concerned about how they will be applied in practice.
“We have particular concerns about how these new rules will affect people in rural areas, many of whom live miles away from their nearest jobcentre, and it costs them maybe £5 or £10 to get there. If they are only receiving £70 per week in Jobseekers Allowance, how can they be expected to visit the jobcentre every day? And even if they could, will that really help them find work?
“Scotland’s unemployed people have been hit repeatedly by the government’s welfare reforms and benefit cuts. This latest move will put even more pressure on those who are least able to bear it.”
For interviews etc please contact Tony Hutson on 0131 550 1010 or 07774 751655. Please note that these numbers are for journalists only, for advice please call Citizens Advice Direct on 0808 800 9060.