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CAS response to Welfare Policy in Scotland inquiry

Scottish Affairs Committee inquiry

CAS recognises that Universal Credit (UC) may be working well for some people. However, evidence from across the Scottish Citizens Advice network suggests that a significant number of people -who are often already vulnerable and/or marginalised- are experiencing hardship and detriment as a result of having to claim UC.

Particular issues experienced by Scottish CAB clients include:

  • The five-week wait at the start of a claim
  • Additional issues for UC claims in rural and remote areas
  • Direct deductions from UC payments set at excessively high levels and without suitable affordability checks
  • Problems with making and maintaining a UC claim online
  • Rent arrears as a result of Universal Credit
  • The benefit freeze, and the overall level of UC entitlement

CAS encourages the UK and Scottish Governments to work together to ensure that the devolution of social security powers is smooth and leads to a system that is fair, equal and responsive. There are areas where close working between the two governments is necessary to prevent people who receive benefits being disadvantaged. Particularly key areas include:

  • As it is possible for people to be eligible for social security payments from four different agencies, a need for efforts to ensure that people receive information about other benefits they might be entitled to that are delivered by a different agency
  • Addressing issues related to the administration of UC Scottish Choices to prevent people falling into rent arrears
Rob Gowans and Eilidh McIvor
Publication date
August 2019
Publication type
Number of pages