“Stark reality” of UK Government welfare cuts
29 June 2017
New report examines evidence of impact in
Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman said today that women,
disabled people and young people would be those disproportionately
affected by damaging UK Government welfare cuts.
The Minister was commenting on a Scottish Government report
detailing the impact of UK Government welfare cuts on people across
Scotland published today.
The statutory report, which was submitted to the Scottish
Parliament, estimates the impact of all welfare measures passed by
the UK Government between 2010 and 2017 drawing upon independent
analysis by the Office for Budget Responsibility.
Based on the latest forecasts, it is expected that the UK
Government annual social security spend in Scotland will reduce by
£3.9 billion by 2020/21. In addition, hundreds of thousands of
people have lost or will lose some of their benefit payments.
Local authority level analysis suggests that West
Dunbartonshire, North Ayrshire, Dundee, Inverclyde and North
Lanarkshire will see the most significant falls in welfare spending
by 2020/21 relative to their working-age population size.
Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman said: "This report
presents the stark reality of the UK Government's austerity
programme which imposes unjust welfare cuts that not only continue
to cause misery and push more people into poverty, but also
directly affect local economies across Scotland and attract
"These cuts are damaging our people and they are harmful to our
communities. Every pound taken away from those entitled to
financial support not only affects those individuals and their
families, it is also a pound less that is spent locally.
"Shockingly, with many of the harshest cuts still to come, the
reforms will reduce spending on welfare in Scotland by nearly £4
billion a year by the end of this decade. This is in addition
to the 9.2% (or £2.9 billion) real terms cuts between 2010-11 and
2019-20 that the Scottish Government will see in the day-to-day
budget that pays for public services - and that is before the
further £3.5 billion of cuts that are expected to be applied to
public spending across the UK in 2019-20.
"That will obviously have an impact on the amount of money the
Scottish Government has available within its budget to spend.
And while we have used over £350 million since 2013/14 to mitigate
against the worst damage, it is simply not possible to for us to
mitigate all of the UK Government's welfare cuts without major
reductions in our expenditure in other vital public services, in
growing our economy and in providing real opportunity to our young
"The UK Government is responsible for all of this damage to
individual lives and local communities and we will continue to use
every opportunity to press the UK Government to reverse these
unjust policies. They need to recognise that social security
is the foundation of a just and decent society and that everyone,
no matter their social or economic status, deserves to be treated
fairly and with dignity and respect. "
Today the Scottish Government laid regulations in the Scottish
Parliament to help people by making their Universal Credit payments
The regulations, which represent the first use of the new
devolved social security powers, will give Universal Credit
claimants in Scotland the option of :
•being paid Universal Credit twice a month rather than
•having their Universal Credit housing element being paid directly
Welcoming this, Ms Freeman continued:
"We have consistently said the new social security system in
Scotland will treat everyone with dignity, fairness and
respect. Introducing this flexible approach to Universal
Credit demonstrates this and I look forward to the new regulations
coming into force and making life that little bit easier for a
number of people."
The flexibilities will come in to force on 4 October 2017 and,
because Universal credit remains a reserved UK Government
benefit, will be delivered by the DWP on behalf of the
This year the Scottish Government will spend around £454 million
on measures that either directly mitigate the changes introduced by
the Act or are part of wider measures tackling poverty in
Scottish Ministers are required by the Scottish Parliament to
report annually on the Welfare Reform (Further Provision)
(Scotland) Act 2012.
The report is published here: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/06/6808
Following this publication, a series of shorter reports will be
published later this year focusing on groups who are particularly
affected by UK Government welfare cuts. The reports will cover the
impact on children and families, people with disabilities and the
impact of welfare reform on homes and housing.
Universal Credit remains a reserved benefit. In January
the Scottish Government committed to introducing flexibilities for
Universal Credit. More detail can be found here:
The Universal Credit (Claims and Payments) (Scotland)
Regulations 2017 can be viewed here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/
The Scottish Government's also today published its response to
the Consultation on Universal Credit (Claims and Payments)
(Scotland) Regulations 2017, which can be viewed here: http://gov.scot/Publications/2017/06/8512
Source - The Scottish Government