In Work Poverty

From Open Government Pioneer Project

The Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee has launched an inquiry into social security and in-work poverty. The Committee will focus on the potential impact of Universal Credit on in-work poverty and is seeking input from organisations and individuals to inform their view. This page will contribute to SCVO's response which we hope will highlight key concerns shared by organisations across the sector and solutions to them.

Third sector organisations are encouraged to share their concerns directly on this page.

Key Principles[edit | edit source]

Poverty and inequality are not inevitable. Despite this, in 2014/17 19%, or almost one million Scots lived in poverty after housing costs and 58% of working-age adults in relative poverty before housing costs were living in working households. These individuals and families face very real challenges. They may battle with hunger or struggle to pay their bills or heat their homes. In the long term poverty will impact upon their health, their wellbeing and their life chances. Like the Scottish Government, SCVO and our members believe people have a right to a decent standard of living. Scotland can do better.

In the UK, 980 thousand people claimed Universal Credit (UC) in June 2018, 37% of whom were in employment. In Scotland, Universal Credit will be introduced in full across the country by the end of 2018. It is projected that when full service rollout is complete in 2022, there will be 652,500 households in Scotland claiming Universal Credit. UC can and should protect people from the many harmful impacts of poverty. To achieve this SCVO and organisations across the third sector including, Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), CPAG Scotland, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Oxfam Scotland, the Poverty Alliance, and others, stress that their is a need to listen to those claiming UC and redesign elements that simply aren't working.

Universal Credit, as currently designed, risks leaving people in Scotland without the support they need, pushing them into debt and crisis. This crisis must not be ignored.

Potential Challenges[edit | edit source]

Challenge Description Impact Solution Organisation and links
Wait for the first universal credit payment Unlike the entitlements it replaces, the first payment of UC is not made to a claimant until around six weeks after they initiate the claim. This is causing some claimants extreme financial difficulties. CPAG Scotland

What should the Scottish Government do?[edit | edit source]

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Our members across Scotland are taking action. Their message is clear: we need a clear and co-ordinated vision to tackle poverty and inequality.