Scottish launch of new campaign highlights how welfare debate fails ordinary families

October 16, 2013

Only 22% believe social security would provide them with adequate support if they lost their job

The current debate about social security is failing ordinary Scottish families according to a new campaign being launched in Scotland today by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG). The ‘People Like Us’ campaign calls for the rejection of misleading stereotypes of benefit claimants and for a debate around benefits that reflects the needs of ordinary families.

The campaign is supported by polling which finds that the majority of people surveyed in Scotland reject the idea that the Coalition government understands the concerns of people on low and middle incomes. The poll also found that only 22% of respondents surveyed in Scotland believe the social security system would provide them with adequate support if they lost their job. Only 32% believe it would support them adequately were they to have a child and only 30% if they were to become ill or disabled.

The ‘People Like Us’ campaign is being formally launched in Scotland today [Wednesday 16th October] at a Roundtable Seminar hosted by CPAG in Scotland as part of Challenge Poverty Week.

The event will highlight key research and campaign activity around attitudes to social security and poverty in Scotland. Contributors to the event include journalist and broadcaster Keith Aitken, John McKendrick of Glasgow Caledonian University, John Downie Director of Communications at SCVO and Peter Kelly Director of Poverty Alliance.

The event will include the Scottish launch of CPAG’s new 5 minute film, ‘It Could Be You’, (http://www.cpag.org.uk/people-like-us) in which three parents talk about the experience of receiving different benefits.

John Dickie, Head of CPAG in Scotland said,

“This campaign highlights the need for the debate on social security to reflect the experiences of real families. There is an immediate need for policies that promote jobs, tackle low pay, promote affordable housing and childcare and help families with the added costs of children. Instead of focusing on scaremongering and negative stereotyping the UK government needs to take action to ensure that there is a safety net in place for families when they lose their jobs, become disabled or have a child.

“Our roundtable event provides an opportunity for campaigners, academics and media professionals to come together as part of Challenge Poverty Week and address attitudes towards poverty and social security in Scotland. We want to build on all the positive work which has been done in Scotland to date and identify steps that can be taken to promote a more positive attitude towards social security and preventing poverty.”

Jack, who features in CPAG’s ‘It Could Be You’ film, is a parent who was receiving out of work benefits at the time of filming. She said,

“I don’t think you can just cut people’s lifelines and make big holes in people’s safety nets and expect that that will solve all the financial problems in this country so I think if you make these cuts now - especially where children are concerned - at the very beginnings of their lives, you’ll be picking up the bill for it a couple of decades. My son is 3 years old now. How they can justify making him a little bit colder, a little bit hungrier and his home a little bit less secure, I don’t know how they can justify it.”

 Notes to Editors
  • All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,891 adults including 169 Scottish adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 4th - 5th September 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). The polling results are available on request.
  • The ‘People Like Us’ film can be seen here: http://www.cpag.org.uk/people-like-us
  • CPAG is the leading charity campaigning for the abolition of child poverty in the UK and for a better deal for low-income families and children.
  • CPAG is the host organisation for the Campaign to End Child Poverty, which has over 150 member organisations and is campaigning for public and political commitment to ensure the goal of ending child poverty by 2020 is met.

For further details please contact John Dickie, Head of CPAG in Scotland, on 0141 552 3656 or 07795 340 618 or Hanna McCulloch on 0141 611 7090.