Numbers seeking crisis grants and foodbanks soaring in Scotland, charity reports
Fuel poverty - istock
Citizens Advice Scotland has seen a large rise in people seeking crisis support because of changes to the benefits system, according to a new report by the charity.
These include a 47 per cent rise in referrals to food banks and a 134 per cent rise in cases where people have sought advice on crisis grants.
Welfare reform, benefit rates not keeping pace with inflation, low pay, insecure work and rising costs of living all contribute to people’s increasing lack of resilience to income shocks, the 'Living at the Sharp End' report concludes.
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Administrative errors in the welfare system and debt collection techniques by central and local government have played a role in deprivation, CAS warned.
Recommendations in the report include easier access to benefits quickly and a full-scale independent review of the sanctions regime.
CAS head of policy & public affairs Susan McPhee said the social security system was "simply not working" when Citizens Advice Bureaux were referring over 7,000 cases to foodbanks a year.
"Our concern is that, as a society, we are in danger of becoming used to these reports, and that we are beginning to accept it as the norm. CAS believes that Scotland should never fall into that way of thinking, and that we should always assert that extreme poverty has no place in our society," she said.
Responding to the report, the UK Government said it pays £90bn a year of working-age benefits, supporting the most vulnerable in society.
Some aspects of welfare is due to be devolved to the Scottish Government in September.