Develop a Scottish welfare system to tackle poverty & food insecurity

Social security related problems are now the single biggest trigger for foodbank referrals. Cuts to the social security budget, benefit conditionality (including the sanctions regime) and the lengthy delays in assessing and processing payments (particularly for people with disabilities) have left many people without any money for food whatsoever.

What needs to be done:

  • The Scottish Government will receive a number of new powers under the Scotland Act. We recommend exploring the option of developing a distinctively Scottish welfare system that provides an effective and dignified safety net for those in need, which is informed by and guarantees a minimum income level.
  • The Scottish Government should also continue to work with local authorities and national advice providers to maximise take up of income maximisation measures


 

Why the contribution is important

The issues:

  • The benefit conditionality regime is tough and sanctions have been applied unfairly. DWP’s own statistics revealed that 50% of sanctions appealed were successfully overturned, though the number of people appealing still remains relatively low. The imposition of a benefit sanction can last from between 4 weeks to 3 years, leaving a person without any money for food in this time. Not enough people who are eligible for the Scottish Welfare Fund and other emergency payments know about them, the process of application is too lengthy, and awards are relatively low.
  • Welfare reform and delay has disproportionately impacted on the most vulnerable people in our society, notably women with children and people with disabilities.
  • Welfare payments are too low to guarantee access to good quality, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food.

Please find Nourish Scotland's full response to the Fairer Scotland consultation here: http://www.nourishscotland.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Final.Fairer-Scotland-National-Conversation-Nourish-Scotland-Contribution.pdf

by NourishScotland on January 27, 2016 at 10:30AM

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