"Millions risk being worse off" say Scottish welfare campaigners as reform bill published

February 11, 2011

Leading members of the Scottish Campaign on Welfare Reform (SCoWR) today responded

with concern to the UK Government's welfare reform bill.

John Dickie, head of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, and a leading member of SCoWR said;

"It is right to want to simplify welfare and help people into work but lack of Treasury funding means this bill risks making millions of households in Scotland and across the UK even worse off as a result of higher benefit withdrawal rates and reduced childcare support.

"Promises to protect potential losers through transitional arrangements will mean little when benefits and tax credits have already been so drastically cut. Coming on the back of rising inflation and with nothing to increase benefit levels that still leave people with only £65 a week to live on it is hard to see how it will deliver on the promise to combat poverty and make work pay.

"It is time the government concentrated on addressing the low pay, lack of decent

jobs, woefully inadequate benefit levels and childcare barriers that really trap people in poverty."

Maggie Kelly of the Poverty Alliance added;

"The proposal to abolish DLA takes place against a backdrop of the UK Government's intention to cut expenditure on disability benefits by over £1 billion. A cut of such magnitude would have a devastating impact, with hundreds of thousands of disabled people likely to lose entitlements, plunging many more below the poverty line and making the lives of those already struggling to make ends meet, increasingly difficult.

Yet despite the far reaching impact of these proposals, they have been announced without proper consultation. The UK Government consultation on DLA, due to close earlier in the week has extended to Friday 18th, leaving the Governments claims to be a listening Government exposed as a complete sham."

Matt Lancashire of Citizens of Scotland, another lead member of SCoWR, said:

"To introduce the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) whilst the consultation is still ongoing is showing that government has not listened to many vulnerable Scottish people and the organisations who represent them.

"These reforms have the potential to affect over 340,000 vulnerable Scottish people who claim DLA. By not listening to these people and the organisations that represent them, the government is at risk of creating more poverty for people who suffer from a disability."

Notes for editors

For further information please contact:

John Dickie, Head of CPAG in Scotland, on 0141 552 3656 or 07795 340 61802

Maggie Kelly, Policy Officer, Poverty Alliance on 0141 353 0440

  • The Scottish Campaign on Welfare Reform (SCoWR) is a coalition of over forty charities, faith groups, trade unions and anti-poverty campaigners campaigning for a welfare system that protects people form poverty, treats them with dignity, is simple to use, provides genuine support to fully participate in society and which takes into account Scotland's devolved framework. The SCoWR Manifesto can be found here.
  • The Scottish Campaign on Welfare Reform (SCoWR) coalition includes include: Action for Children Scotland, Archibald Foundation, Capability Scotland, Care Co-ordination Network UK, Carr-Gomm Scotland, Children 1st, Choices - One Parent Families West of Scotland, Citizens Advice Scotland, CPAG in Scotland, ECAS, Energy Action Scotland, Faith in Community Scotland, Fife Gingerbread, Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (GCVS), Glasgow Disability Alliance, Glasgow University Students' Representative Council, Headway UK, Hillcrest Housing Association, Inclusion Scotland, Margaret Blackwood Housing Association, Momentum, The National Autistic Society, One Parent Families Scotland, Oxfam, Public & Commercial Services Union Scotland, Quarriers, RNID Scotland, Rosemount Lifelong Learning, Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People, Save the Children in Scotland, Scope, Scottish Association for Mental Health, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Scottish Drugs Forum, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, Scottish Poverty Information Unit Scottish Trade Union Congress, Scottish Women's Convention, Sense Scotland, The Action Group, The Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, The Iona Community, The Poverty Alliance, The Salvation Army in Scotland and Turning Point Scotland.