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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. 22 Jul 2020

    by Debbie Horne, CAS Social Justice policy officer.

    This article first appeared in the Herald on 22 July 2020.

  2. 10 Jul 2020

    Citizens Advice Scotland has responded to the National Audit Office report on Universal Credit.  

  3. 8 Jul 2020

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has warned too many people will still fall into poverty without further changes to the social security system, following the statement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer.


  1. Scottish Commission on Social Security consultation
    Rob Gowans and Alastair Wilcox

    Publication date: June 2020

    Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes the moves to extend Winter Heating Assistance in the challenging context of COVID19 which has resulted in delays to wider measures on disability assistance.  We recommend the draft regulations are amended to better meet the policy intention and add clarity in a number of areas.

  2. Rebecca King

    Publication date: May 2020

    CAS welcomes the opportunity to feed into the work of the Scottish Government's Advisory Group on Economic Recovery. Central to our view of how to stimulate economic growth post-COVID-19 is the principle of protecting household incomes and helping with the cost of living. 

  3. Rob Gowans

    Publication date: May 2020

    Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) welcomes the opportunity to provide evidence on the Bill. The Bill provides an opportunity to make minor amendments to address issues which have been identified since the passage of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018, including making provision for the introduction of the Scottish Child Payment. CAS welcomes the Bill and is broadly content with its provisions, although there are a number of areas that the Committee may wish to consider in its scrutiny.

  4. Work and Pensions Committee inquiry
    Rob Gowans

    Publication date: April 2020

    The DWP’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak has included many welcome changes, benefiting those making a social security claims for the first time, but also those who were already supported by the UK’s safety net. Many issues that social security recipients are still facing in accessing support are similar to the issues CAB clients told us about before the outbreak. Our recommendations aim to help DWP address these issues and are based on quantitative and qualitative data from CAB all over Scotland. 

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