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Spotlight on: Social Security benefits

CAS believes that aspects of UK welfare changes will be damaging to Scotland’s people, services, and economy. 

Welfare reform, public service cuts, and the economic climate are combining to place enormous pressure on public services and advice services. On top of this, reductions in benefit levels and eligibility will inevitably drive demand for advice provision at the same time as cuts are being felt across the public and voluntary sectors. Local government and voluntary services may have to pick up the pieces for those affected by welfare reform – all on a shrinking budget.

As client issues with welfare also create problems in many other areas of life including debt, housing, consumer and relationship issues, we expect welfare reform changes to put exceptional pressure on advice services and other areas of the third sector across the country. Early intervention, such as good advice, ultimately saves money – debt and welfare advice is significantly cheaper than homelessness and bankruptcy, and the social outcomes for clients are far better. Local authorities, the Scottish CAB Service and other organisations across the third and public sectors have a shared agenda in helping local people avoid crisis point and are increasingly working in partnership to achieve positive outcomes for the people and communities of Scotland.


  1. 13 Jan 2020

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has responded to the Scottish Government's publication of the first statistics related to the recently-introduced Young Carer Grant.

  2. 9 Jan 2020

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is today (Thursday) calling for a ‘fundamental overhaul’ of Universal Credit.

  3. 21 Oct 2019

    Citizens Advice Scotland has welcomed the launch of the Young Carer Grant, which becomes available from today, but has stressed it should be the first step in a process of greater support for carers.


  1. CAS briefing for MPs
    Debbie Horne

    Publication date: January 2020

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) believes the Universal Credit (UC) system must change if the benefit is to work for all citizens across Scotland, and the rest of the UK. By ‘work’ CAS means the UC system should not cause financial destitution or debt, should be accessible to everyone and should support people who are in work.

  2. Scottish Parliament debate
    Debbie Horne

    Publication date: November 2019

    Since the roll out of Universal Credit (UC) began, CAS has repeatedly raised concerns about fundamental elements of the design and delivery of the UC system.

    Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) data, including Citizen Alerts (cases from local CAB), have shown the key problem elements of UC to be; the five week wait for first payment, the digital by default system, direct deductions from payments and increasing rent arrears caused by the cycle of payment in arrears.

  3. Eilidh McIvor

    Publication date: September 2019

    Our series of briefings, 'Voices from the Frontline', demonstrates the impact of changes to the UK social security system on people in Scotland. This latest briefing considers the impact of the five-week wait for a first payment for Universal Credit. 

  4. Eilidh McIvor & Derek Young

    Publication date: June 2019

    Briefing prepared for all Scottish MPs ahead of a Westminster Hall debate on Universal Credit and debt.

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