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The Broadest Shoulders?. Introduction Key principles for welfare reform: the SCoWR manifesto Current welfare reforms – key concerns Challenges for Scotland.

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Presentation on theme: "The Broadest Shoulders?. Introduction Key principles for welfare reform: the SCoWR manifesto Current welfare reforms – key concerns Challenges for Scotland."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Broadest Shoulders?

2 Introduction Key principles for welfare reform: the SCoWR manifesto Current welfare reforms – key concerns Challenges for Scotland

3 Scale of the Benefit Cuts: £18 billion of cuts to welfare benefits £9 billion of cuts falling on households containing disabled people. Impact in Scotland = £2.5 billion being taken out of local economies Inclusion Scotland estimate at least half of that (over £1 billion) is being taken from Scottish disabled people and their families)

4 SCoWR Manifesto Based on experience of over 40 organisations and tens of thousands people they work with. A vision for welfare that: ▫ genuinely protects people from poverty ▫ is based on human rights and treats people with dignity ▫ is simplified, so that barriers to work are removed ▫ provides the support people need to participate ▫ takes into account devolved Scottish service provision

5 Key concerns Welcome the stated aims of simplifying, making moves into work easier and tackling poverty. However fundamental concerns – Preceded and underpinned by massive cuts Fails to address inadequacy of benefit levels Focus on increasing conditionality – punitive Undermined by steep taper rates

6 Challenges for Scotland Replacement of council tax benefit –need to ensure that support protected and further work disincentives avoided Replacement of discretionary social fund – need to protect eligibility and maintain support New criteria for passported benefits – need to maximise support and take up Need to ensure advice and information adequate so that households get the support entitled to and can make informed decisions

7 Access to Work April 2010- Mar 2011 35,830 individuals helped through Access to Work April 2011-Mar 2012 30,690 individuals were helped through Access to Work So in 1 year, over 5,000 fewer individuals received Access to Work support, a drop of 15% in the total caseload. The number of existing Access to Work customers being assisted fell by nearly 2,000 during 2011/12 from 22,510 to 20,760, a drop of 8% and the first such fall in 5 years.

8 Access to work The fall in new customers helped by Access to Work was even more pronounced. The numbers fell from 13,330 in 2010/11 to 9,930 in 2011/12, a drop of 25% This is the lowest number of new customers helped in 5 years, down 40% since the last election.

9 Mobility Allowance - losers Using DWP projections, by 2015 IS estimates: In Scotland, about 74,000 working age disabled people will lose some or all of their mobility allowance: 31,800 will lose higher rate mobility allowance 41,900 will lose lower rate mobility allowance Potentially these disabled people will also lose passported benefits e.g. blue badge, concessionary travel cards.

10 Housing Benefit From April 2013 housing benefit for working age people in social rented homes will be linked to the size of property that the Government believes they need. DWP figures show that of a total of 670,000 households affected by this change about 450,000 (66%) will contain a disabled person. Scottish Government estimates that 95,000 households will be affected by the under-occupation rule. If the two thirds estimate holds good then at least 62,000 of these households will contain a disabled person.

11 Homelessness & Poverty: Scottish Government estimates that of the 95,000 households affected – They will lose on average between £11 and £25 pw 8,000 households will secure smaller properties. Half of the remainder (i.e. 43,500) will meet their rent payments. Half will fall into arrears. A quarter of those who fall into arrears (i.e. between 10 – 11,000 households) will be evicted.

12 Online access to Universal Credit UC will be phased in from Oct 2013 (tax credits, income support, housing benefit) Claimants will have to apply on-line If there are mistakes in applications, claimants will be fined £50 Last year, only 44% of Scots disabled people had access to, and used, the internet. This compares to 79% net access and usage amongst those without a disability.

13 Barriers to the internet Income – less than 50% disabled people in work compared to 80% non-disabled people. Blind/visually impaired people – access to websites, screenreaders, filling in online forms Illiteracy: Learning/cognitive impairments, poverty and unemployment : 2/3 of people out of work have the lowest literacy levels.

14 What can be done? Scottish Government/Parliament –Welfare Reform Committee, Welfare Reform Scrutiny Group, responses to Scottish Passported Benefits Consultation (28 th Sept). Local Authorities and DPOs: Need to start planning for increased demand on welfare advice & advocacy services – co-producing local strategies. For more information about SCoWR contact Maggie Kelly, c/o The Poverty Alliance, maggie.kelly@povertyalliance.org For more information on Inclusion Scotland contact, Bill Scott, bills@inclusionscotland.org bills@inclusionscotland.org


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