CAS has submitted evidence to the Welfare Reform Committee's inquiry on women and welfare reform. This submission is based on a comprehensive analysis of client profile data from people who visited citizens advice bureaux in Scotland over a one month period (November 2014). It also based on evidence and case studies from bureaux which show the impact that different welfare reforms have had so far for people in Scotland.
This evidence shows that:
- Women are more likely to seek advice on the following benefit issues than men at a citizens advice bureau: Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credits, Child Tax Credits, Child Benefit and Income Support. Reforms to these benefits, along with errors and delays in their administration, are having a disproportionate impact on women.
- The top three benefits issues that both women and men seek advice on are Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit and Personal Independence Payment. Welfare reforms in these areas are therefore likely to have a significant impact on women as well as men.
- Planned future reforms, such as the switch to a single household payment under Universal Credit, could particularly disadvantage women.