Early Warning System

  • Welcome to the Early Warning System newsletter: September 2015


    page

    What is the Early Warning System?

    With welfare reform expected to drive up to 100,000 more children into child poverty by 2020, CPAG in Scotland set up the Early Warning System (EWS) to gather information and case studies about the impact of welfare reform on children and families across Scotland.

  • Barriers to employment


    page

    All of the families in the study who were not in paid work had the aspiration to gain full-time employment. Jennifer, lone parent to three boys, summarises this desire well:

  • Devolved issues


    page

    Housing benefit

    As a full time student, Sarah receives tax credits and housing benefit, with her student loan being considered as income for these purposes. When we were conducting the interview we looked at Sarah's income over the summer months when she receives jobseekers allowance compared to the months when she is a student and receives a student loan. As a student loan is her only source of income during these months, this still keeps Sarah below the poverty line.

  • Education


    page

    The families in the study struggle with the costs of schooling: school dinners, school trips, cooking costs, equipment, uniforms and shoes. As Jamie notes, having these costs for his six children gets particularly expensive. He says:

  • Health and wellbeing


    page

    Research shows that there is a strong association between health & wellbeing, and income, and that the relationship exists in both directions. Poor health & wellbeing is a predictor of poverty but low income, persistent poverty and even short-term falls in income, increase the risk of ill health and negatively affect wellbeing (Smith and Middleton, 2007: 58). Although there is complexity in the relationship, poverty has detrimental impacts on parents’ health & wellbeing, which, through direct and indirect effects, has detrimental impacts on children too .

  • Managing on current income


    page

    Many of the participants in the study are struggling with everyday costs of gas, electricity and food.

    Due to his disabilities, Mary’s son spends a lot of time in the house and she says he finds it cold. She encourages him to wrap himself up in his bed covers when in the house to save money on heating. When her son is not in the house Mary does not use the heating, covering herself in blankets instead. Mary said:

  • Problems with the benefits system


    page

    Everyone in the study who has ever received, or currently receives, a benefit, has had a change in circumstances that has, in turn, affected their entitlement. Without exception this has not gone smoothly, being marred by: incorrect information from benefit advisors, incorrect assessments, long waiting periods (of months) for money to come through and alleged hostile treatment by benefit advisors. The most damaging of these appears to be the time it takes for money to come through and the impact it has on families.

  • Public services


    page

    Voluntary organisations

    Mary has received lots of support from a lone parent voluntary organisation who gave her the confidence and encouragement to start her degree with the Open University. She can’t praise them highly enough:

    ‘They were really good for me. And I think because they were good for me I was able to pass it onto (her son). (They) talked me into doing my degree. It was always something I wanted to do. I was just needing a wee boost. That wee bit push. They were good for me and I met all my best friends now (there)’.

  • Welcome to the Early Warning System newsletter – August 2015


    page

    What is the Early Warning System?

    With welfare reform expected to drive 100,000 more children into child poverty by 2020[i], CPAG in Scotland set up the Early Warning System[ii] (EWS) to gather information and case studies about the impact of welfare reform on children and families across Scotland. Using this information we identify changes that could be made to mitigate some of the impacts of welfare reform.

  • Case studies - meet the families


    page

    Liam is the lone parent of a nine year old son aged who came to live with him several years ago after he was removed from his mother's care.

    Rebecca is 21 years old and lives alone with her daughter who is 16 months old. She left home aged 17 and has lived on her own and looked after herself since then.