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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. 23 Nov 2018

    Andrew Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England and a member of the Bank’s monetary policy committee, today made a visit to West Lothian CAB, where he met with both clients and advisers to see some of the problems people are dealing with in today’s economy

  2. 29 Oct 2018

    Citizens Advice Scotland has said the funding announced for Universal Credit in today's budget will not be sufficient to solve the problems in the system.

  3. 18 Oct 2018

    Citizens Advice Scotland has today published evidence showing that demand for advice on rent arrears increased by 47% between 2012 - 2017.


  1. Scottish Government consultation
    Rob Gowans

    Publication date: December 2018

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) supports the introduction of the Young Carer Grant, which is the first entirely new benefit to be created under powers devolved in the Scotland Act 2016. Young carers in full-time education currently are ineligible for support from Carer’s Allowance, but as is recognised from evidence in the consultation document, they face a range of issues as a result of their caring role at a critical time of transition in their lives.

  2. Scottish Parliament debate
    Rob Gowans

    Publication date: November 2018

    Based on CAB evidence, CAS highlighted three main areas of concern to MSPs ahead of the debate - Halt and Fix Universal Credit, rent arrears and social security, and the overall impact of the welfare reform programme since 2010.

  3. Scottish government consultation on fraud in the social security system
    Rob Gowans

    Publication date: October 2018

    Whilst the Scottish social security system should make provision for the investigation of fraud, it is important that a clear distinction is drawn between intentional fraud and unintentional error, such as not reporting a change of circumstances unknowingly.

  4. Causes and Consequences for CAB Clients
    Rob Gowans

    Publication date: October 2018

    Advice in relation to rent arrears has grown by over 40% since 2012, whilst debt-related issues have declined. This report examines the reasons why this steady increase in rent arrears has occurred, as well as who is most likely to be affected. It also looks at how CAB clients cope with being behind on the rent, and how they have managed to escape rent arrears – if they have indeed managed to do so.  

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