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Publications

  1. Report Stage and Third Reading
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    October 2015

    CAS is extremely concerned that the proposals in the Bill would have a detrimental impact on CAB clients who have already been negatively affected by changes to the social security system in the last Parliament. These negative consequences include a rise in rent arrears; pressure on homeless services; and an increase in the number of people who are unable to make ends meet, who accrue priority debt or who require a referral to a food bank.

  2. House of Commons Public Bill Committee
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    October 2015

    Citizens Advice Scotland recommends that the Bill is amended to remove Sections 7 to 15 (Welfare benefits) and Sections 16 to 18 (Loans for mortgage interest). We are extremely concerned that the proposals would have a detrimental impact on CAB clients who have already been negatively affected by changes to the social security system in the last Parliament. These negative consequences include a rise in rent arrears; pressure on homeless services; and an increase in the number of people who are unable to make ends meet, who accrue priority debt or who require a referral to a food bank.

  3. CAS Response
    Rhiannon Sims
    Publication date:
    September 2015

    Poor administration of benefits can leave some of the most vulnerable people in society without any money to live on for weeks at a time. CAS has extensive case evidence which suggests that a gap in benefits has a detrimental effect on both physical and mental health, and can lead to crisis situations such as homelessness and unmanageable debt. The Scottish CAB Service has seen a dramatic rise in the number of clients in crisis having to access charitable support such as food banks. 

  4. CAS consultation response
    Keith Dryburgh and Sarah Beattie-Smith
    Publication date:
    September 2015

    CAS have responded to a Scottish Affairs Committee consultation on what their work should be during this parliament.

  5. CAS consultation response
    Fraser Sutherland, Keith Dryburgh and Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    September 2015

    CAS has responded to the Scottish Parliament Welfare Reform Committee consultation on the future delivery of social security in Scotland.

  6. CAS submission to the Scottish Parliament Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    August 2015

    Scotland’s Citizens Advice Service is the most common external source of advice for employees who experience problems at work. In 2014/15 clients sought advice on 50,625 new employment issues, a number that has been increasing in recent years. Additionally, citizens advice bureaux see first-hand the effects of in-work poverty, with a growing number of working clients seeking advice because they are struggling to pay for essentials. These twin problems – unfair employment practices and low paid jobs – represent a worrying trend in recent years and ones which CAS believes need to be addressed.

  7. CAS written evidence to the Scottish Parliament Devolution (Further Powers) Committee
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    August 2015

    Whilst there are a number of areas of the Scotland Bill that fully meet the word and spirit of the Smith Agreement, Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) believes that, as currently drafted, there are a number of sections of the Bill relating to social security and tribunals that do not appear to meet its intent.  CAS is concerned that without changes being made there are clear risks of detriment to CAB clients, who sought advice on 207,875 new benefits issues in 2013/14 and who have been subject to recent changes to reserved tribunals which have had a marked and detrimental effect on consumers in Scotland.

  8. Gillian Anderson, Dr Covadonga Gijón, Professor Jason Whalley
    Publication date:
    August 2015

    In 2013, Citizens Advice Scotland conducted a survey with Scottish Citizens Advice Bureau clients who sought advice on a benefits issue, to explore their access, ability and desire to use the internet.  This report, Internet Access in Glasgow's Deprived Areas is an analysis of the responses from the original 2013 survey from CAB clients in Glasgow.

  9. Publication date:
    June 2015

    This briefing was sent to Scottish MPs ahead of a discussion around the welfare provisions in the Scotland Bill.  

  10. Gael Scott and Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    April 2015

    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.

  11. Oversight of DWP activities in Scotland and Draft Clauses on welfare
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    April 2015

    This submission is based on CAS’ arguably unique insight into benefits administration in Scotland. In 2013/14, Scottish Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) dealt with over 324,000 benefits and tax credits issues – 36.6% of all CAB advice. In the nine months of April to December 2014, we dealt with a total of 248,000 issues – accounting for 37.2% of all CAB advice. CAB are the leading providers of advice in this area and we provide our service in 30 out of 32 local authority areas reaching 94% of the population.

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) welcomed the Smith Commission and much of the Command Paper, and look forward to working with all those involved in the transfer and transition of powers to the Scottish Parliament. We have called for this to be carried out in the best interests of the people of Scotland. Our submission to the Smith Commission focused on three principles – fairness, responsiveness and equality.

  12. Publication date:
    April 2015

    Narrowing the digital divide in Scotland is one of the most important issues faced by policymakers.  However, there citizens across Scotland who are excluded from this valuable resource and in turn excluded from the benefits access to the internet can bring.

  13. Scottish Parliament debate - 'An End to In-Work Poverty'
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    March 2015

    The most recent figures from the Scottish Government show that in-work poverty is rising. The majority of working age adults in poverty (52%) are now from working households and it is not the case that work by itself is a route out of poverty. Citizens advice bureaux in Scotland are reporting a growing number of cases where clients are in work, but are struggling to pay for essentials. Citizens Advice Scotland’s ongoing ‘Working at the Edge’ series of publications examines the growing problems caused by in-work poverty through the stories of the thousands of clients advised by citizens advice bureaux in Scotland, and makes recommendations for change.

  14. Gael Scott
    Publication date:
    March 2015

    Our series of briefings ‘Voices from the Frontline’ show the reality of the impact of current welfare changes on the people of Scotland. We highlight the experiences of the thousands of clients advised by CAB in Scotland and make recommendations for change.

  15. Implementing the Smith Agreement: Welfare benefits
    Publication date:
    March 2015
  16. A consultation on draft Regulations
    Keith Dryburgh
    Publication date:
    January 2015

    CAS has responded to the consultation on the draft regulations for Universal Credit data sharing. In order to provide a representative response on behalf of the Citizens Advice Service, we consulted bureaux in Scotland on the proposals and received responses from 32 citizens advice bureaux. This response represents a summary of the responses received. 

  17. Rhiannon Sims and Keith Dryburgh
    Publication date:
    December 2014

    CAS has responded to the Work and Pensions Committee’s inquiry into benefit sanctions policy beyond the Oakley Review. We believe that the Review was too narrow in its remit and this inquiry represents a vital opportunity to take a wider look at the sanctions regime, its purpose and impact on claimants. 

  18. Commission on Housing & Wellbeing
    Rob Gowans, Kate Morrison, Fraser Stewart and Fraser Sutherland
    Publication date:
    November 2014

    CAS contributed evidence to the independent Commission on Housing & Wellbeing's wide-ranging consultation on how housing can promote a society in which everyone can flourish.

  19. Consultation by the Social Security Advisory Committee
    Rob Gowans
    Publication date:
    October 2014

    CAS commented on a proposal to introduce seven benefit 'waiting days' for new Universal Credit claimants. This follows a recent increase in the number of waiting days from three to seven for JSA and ESA. We drew the SSAC's attention to a number of potential issues, including possible equalities impacts, the impact on housing and rent arrears, on other benefits and on in-work claimants on zero hours contracts.

  20. Delays and assessments
    Beth Reid
    Publication date:
    October 2014

    Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a crucial benefit for many sick and disabled people. It is designed to help with the extra costs of being sick or having a disability, such as additional heating, additional travel costs, special diets, or specialist equipment. Its predecessor, Disability Living Allowance (DLA), has often been a mainstay for some of the most vulnerable clients attending citizens advice bureaux (CAB), particularly when there have been administrative problems with income-replacement benefits.

    Scottish bureaux have been supporting clients to claim PIP since the benefit was first introduced in Scotland in June 2013. Since January 2014, the process of PIP reassessment was rolled out to a large swathe of Scotland, amounting to around half of the DLA caseload in Scotland. CAS carried out a survey of bureau advisers in August 20141 to find out the experiences of those making applications for Personal Independent Payment.  This report looks at the feedback from bureaux, clients and advisers.

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