MPs to consider experiences of Universal Credit and welfare reform in Scotland
15 January 2021
A panel of experts from social security advocacy groups will field questions from the Scottish Affairs Committee on the effectiveness of UK and Scottish welfare policies in Scotland and on the Department of Work and Pensions’ response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Welfare policy in Scotland
Claimants of Universal Credit have almost doubled in the last year as working hours were reduced and jobs shed during the pandemic.
474,000 now rely on the payment to make up at least part of their income.
Measures have been put in place by the UK and Scottish Governments to help people through lockdown and ensure higher compliance with public health measures.
This includes a £20 per week increase in Universal Credit payments from the UK Government and a £500 self-isolation grant from Scottish Government.
However, Universal Credit has been criticised for forcing a choice between a five-week wait for claimants’ first payment or a reduction in payments while an advance is repaid, putting some at risk of hunger or a spiral of debt.
Meanwhile, Scotland is undergoing a transfer of welfare powers from the UK Government.
Once complete, the Scottish Government will control £3.5bn of benefits to 1.4 million people.
Scotland-specific welfare policies already under the Scottish Government’s control include Scottish Choices giving claimants the options of fortnightly payments and direct payment or rent to landlords.
Thursday 21 January, 12pm
- Kirsty McKechnie, Welfare Rights Worker, Child Poverty Action Group Scotland
- Nina Ballantyne, Policy Manager, Citizens Advice Scotland
- Marion Davis, Head of Policy and Strategy, One Parent Families Scotland