Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee call for evidencePublication date:March 2017
Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence to inform the Committee’s consideration of the Bill. Scotland’s CAB Service sees the effects of child poverty on a daily basis, and the majority of advice provided by citizens advice bureaux in Scotland relates to issues related to maximising low incomes, particularly access to social security benefits and dealing with problem debt.
CAS response to Work and Pensions Committee inquiryPublication date:March 2017
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) welcomes the opportunity to provide evidence to the Committee’s inquiry. In 2015/16, citizens advice bureaux in Scotland advised clients on 227,561 new issues related to social security benefits. Of those, 98,699 (43%) related to the six legacy benefits that are due to be replaced by Universal Credit. It is likely that Universal Credit will eventually become the largest single issue that Scotland’s CAB Network provides advice on, and in areas where Full Service Universal Credit has already been rolled out, it is quickly beginning to take up a significant proportion of CAB advisers’ time.
Response to Scottish Government consultationPublication date:March 2017
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) warmly welcomes the opportunity to respond to this consultation. These draft regulations represent the first piece of legislation as part of the social security powers devolved to the Scottish Government under the Scotland Act 2016. The use of the Universal Credit flexibilities has been of considerable interest to CAS, alongside the wider rollout of Universal Credit, which is already a significant impact on many CAB clients.
UK Government consultationPublication date:February 2017
CAS welcomes the Government’s ambition to reduce the disability employment gap, which is important in ensuring equality, fairness in the workplace and helping people with disabilities and health conditions maximise their incomes. However, it should be recognised that there are people who will not be able to undertake paid work because of their condition or impairment, in a number of cases for the remainder of their life.
Consultation response from Citizens Advice ScotlandPublication date:November 2016
CAS is generally concerned about the restriction on families to only
being able to claim Child Tax Credits or Universal Credit for two children, and
would recommend the Government reconsider the policy in its entirety rather
than making exemptions to it.
Citizens Advice Scotland briefing for MSPsPublication date:November 2016
Designing a new social security system for Scotland is a major opportunity and challenge. CAS has attempted to bring the best of our unique evidence base to inform the development of the new system based on the experiences of those who work with the current system on a daily basis. In developing a substantial response to the Scottish Government’s recent public consultation on the devolved social security system, CAS carried out specific engagement activity with 144 CAB clients and 102 CAB advisers with direct experience of the current system, in addition to CAB case information which provide real time insights into the daily operation of the system.
CAS responsePublication date:October 2016
Designing a new social security system for Scotland is a major opportunity and challenge. In this substantial consultation response, Citizens Advice Scotland has attempted to bring the best of our unique evidence base to inform the development of the new system based on the experiences of those who work with the current system on a daily basis.
Citizens Advice Scotland has published the first ever impact report detailing the positive contribution the service makes to Scottish society.Publication date:October 2016
In our first report of this kind, we demonstrate the impact of the Scottish Citizens Advice service on the 310,000-plus clients who received help in 2015/16, as well as touching on the wider benefits of our work to the rest of society.
Scottish Government consultationPublication date:September 2016
Citizens Advice Scotland agrees that the Scottish Government should
include in statute an ambition to eradicate child poverty. It is equally important
however that this ambition is backed up by clear strategies with specific,
measurable and deliverable actions that are directly linked to reducing the
levels of child poverty in Scotland.
Second Independent ReviewPublication date:September 2016
CAS has responded to the call for evidence to inform the second independent review of Personal Independence Payment.
Despite improvements having been made to waiting times and other aspects of benefit delivery, fundamental problems remain with respect to the design of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), specifically around assessments, medical evidence, length of awards, accuracy of decision making and mandatory reconsideration.
These are all issues that CAS raised in our response to the first independent review, and it is now crucial that solutions to these issues are found before more people experience similar problems as they undergo the transition from DLA to PIP.
CAB Clients in CrisisPublication date:July 2016
On-going analysis of CAB case evidence over the last four years has shown that more and more bureaux clients are experiencing periods of no income, and are unable to afford essentials including food, gas and electricity to heat their homes, as well as priority payments such as rent. More worryingly still are the number of clients who present at bureaux having not eaten in a number of days.
CAS written evidencePublication date:June 2016
If conditionality is to be used within the benefit system, CAS believes it must be part of a holistic system that supports, rather than compels, jobseekers into sustainable employment. Sanctions should be always proportionate to the “offence” and should be operated as a last resort to ensure that claimants are seeking employment in exchange for their benefit.
Early Evidence of the Impact of Universal Credit in Scotland's CAB NetworkPublication date:June 2016
This report presents many of the Universal Credit cases that Scotland’s CAB network has advised on during the first year of the rollout. At this stage, it is a only a small fraction of the people who will eventually receive Universal Credit – single jobseekers with ‘simple’ claims. However, the evidence allows us to start to identify some of the challenges that may stand in the way of the success of Universal Credit and to make recommendations for how these obstacles can be overcome. These challenges fall into three groups – design challenges, transitional and administrative challenges and future challenges.
Briefing for Scottish Parliament debate - 9 June 2016Publication date:June 2016
This briefing focuses on the opportunities that the devolution of social security powers to Scotland with a particular focus on disability benefits – it is the chance to design a system that has the principles of dignity and respect at its heart. The following pages outline the challenges and issues that the Parliament needs to address to make this system a reality.
Briefing for MSPs - Scottish Parliament debate 2 June 2016Publication date:June 2016
This briefing focuses on the opportunities that the devolution of social security powers offers to Scotland – it is the chance to design a system that has the principles of dignity and respect at its heart. The following pages outline the challenges and issues that the parliament needs to address to make this system a reality.
Publication date:May 2016
A third of CAB clients find themselves digitally excluded, according to new research.
UK Parliament Work and Pensions CommitteePublication date:May 2016
Citizens Advice Scotland is extremely concerned about the potential negative impact of the abolition of the ESA Work Related Activity component. The removal of support for the additional costs faced by disabled people through this component could have the effect of creating additional barriers to them gaining employment. The majority of people affected by the move are far from the labour market, with 73% of Scottish claimants in the ESA Work Related Activity Group having been in receipt of the benefit for more than two years, and in some cases will never be fit for work again.
CAS responsePublication date:March 2016
CAS has responded to the Social Security Advisory Committee's consultation on Decision Making and Mandatory Reconsideration.
Social Security Advisory Committee consultationPublication date:February 2016
Citizens Advice Scotland responded to a consultation on the UK Government's proposed changes to the length of time a person can be absent from Great Britain without losing entitlement to Housing Benefit and Pension Credit.
Commons consideration of Lords amendmentsPublication date:February 2016
Citizens Advice Scotland is extremely concerned regarding the proposals to reduce the value of the Work Related Activity (WRAG) component of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The principle underlying the WRAG is to take people who, while unable to work at present, could do so in the future, and provide them with financial support, advice and training to return to the workforce. The changes proposed in the Bill run counter to this principle and risk serious detriment to the often vulnerable claimants in this group.