Benefit reforms will ‘increase poverty substantially’, report claims
A SERIES of mitigation measures are needed to help protect thousands of Scots at risk of falling into poverty as a result of “draconian” welfare changes, a report has found.
The study by leading public policy expert Dr Jim McCormick, which is published today by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), said the Westminster government’s proposed benefit reforms alongside a weak jobs market would create a “toxic mix” which would “increase poverty substantially”.
Due to be introduced later this year, the Universal Credit will introduce a new single benefit payment, bringing together income support, jobseeker’s allowance, employment support allowance, housing benefit, and child and working tax credits.
Dr McCormick, an adviser to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said initial estimates that 200,000 children and 300,000 adults would be pushed into poverty across the UK were conservative.
His report recommends “decoupling” housing benefit from Universal Credit as well as investing more in advice and support services to help people understand the changes.
He also raised concerns that vulnerable women would be at risk under the system, which will see a single payment going into households instead of individual benefits.