New Benefits Change Causing ‘Serious Detriment’ To Vulnerable Scots

The UK Government’s much-heralded change to the social security system contains a number of inherent flaws which are causing serious problems for people in need, according to a detailed new report from Citizens Advice Scotland.

CAS has spent the year analysing the impact of the new system on Scottish CAB clients, and has concluded that it contains problems which must be fixed before it is expanded to all claimants. These include delays in payment, unfair sanctions and glitches in technology.

“The principles behind Universal Credit are good. Anything that seeks to simplify the system and make it easier and more efficient has to be welcomed. So we have always supported the policy and we want it to work. We also understand that any new system is bound to have teething problems, and the government was right to roll out it slowly so that these could be identified. Our report today is published in that spirit. We are presenting the problems we have seen, so that they can be fixed.

“However, it is very important now that the government responds to this evidence with practical measures to improve the system. In the past Ministers have been slow to act in fixing such flaws, and often deny their existence, despite overwhelming evidence. Universal Credit has a lot of goodwill, and really could make life easier for many struggling households. But if the problems we have identified are not addressed, then the system really could cause serious detriment to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“As always, the evidence we present here is based on real-life experience of real people. For those who rely on the system, the impact of its failures is very real. Sick, disabled, unemployed and low-income families deserve a social security system that is worthy of the name. Universal Credit could be a step towards that. But first its inherent flaws need to be corrected.”