Welfare reform is putting children at risk according to Barnardo’s Scotland an NSPCC Scotland, two of the country’s biggest children’s charities.
Monday’s Herald reported that research carried out by the charities, into 14 Intensive Family Support Services across Scotland, discovered that services were struggling to cope with increased demand. Pre-existing problems such as mental health problems, substance misuse and relationship breakdowns are being exacerbated by the impact of the reforms as the most vulnerable families struggle to cope financially.
Increasingly, the support services have found themselves having to provide basic provisions such as food or clothing, before any of the intensive work they do to support vulnerable families. The impact of rising prices, benefit sanctions and delays and the falling value of benefits, due to the decision to no longer uprate them line with inflation, is tipping many into crisis situations and putting more children at risk.
Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo’s Scotland, said:
“It often appears as if those putting in place welfare reforms have no concept of how poor people are to start with. Even without sanctions, benefits are not keeping pace with rising costs such as food and fuel. Even if people are getting what they are entitled to, it is not enough.”