The Scottish Government has published the findings of a tracking study into the impact of welfare reform on people in Scotland, which finds that the benefit system is failing and does not meet people’s needs.
The report, based on current literature and the analysis of 43 interviews with benefit claimants, found that people felt stigmatised by the current system and that wider society “looked down on them”. Participants reported difficulties with accessing appropriate information about benefit changes and said that their experience of dealing with Job centre staff was often inconsistent and stressful.
The research examines the impact that welfare reform has had on different groups of people, including lone parents and disabled people, questioning the transfer of large numbers of both onto Jobseekers Allowance, when the specific barriers to entering employment that these groups face have not been properly considered.
The authors found evidence of considerable financial hardship, and claim that basic needs are not being met, leaving people to make difficult choices over what to prioritise when buying household items or food and utility bills. Participants reported never having enough money for themselves or their children to take part in social interactions.
Source: Scottish Government website