Based on CAB evidence, CAS highlighted three main areas of concern to MSPs ahead of the debate - Halt and Fix Universal Credit, rent arrears and social security, and the overall impact of the welfare reform programme since 2010.
- Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has called for the roll out and managed migration of Universal Credit to be halted until the many issues affecting Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) clients have been fixed.
- CAS is also concerned about the prospect of ‘managed migration’, which will see all people currently receiving one of the six ‘legacy benefits’ having to make a new claim for Universal Credit.
- Advice in relation to rent arrears has grown by over 40% between 2012 and 2017, whilst debt-related issues overall experienced by CAB clients in Scotland steadily declined over the same period. This coincides closely with changes to the social security system with the advent of welfare reform.
- In addition to fixing issues associated with Universal Credit, CAS has recommended further promotion of support to pay the rent, such as Universal Credit Scottish Choices and Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs).
- CAS has consistently raised concerns about aspects of the UK Government’s welfare reform programme that have caused detriment and hardship to CAB clients.
- Based on the increase in poverty for people who need support from the social security system, CAS has consistently recommended that the UK Government reconsider these policies.