Welfare Reform Update08/02/17
A near £100 million price will be paid by Dundee every year by 2021 because of the impact of the UK Government’s “welfare reforms”.
Latest research has shown that the annual loss to the city will go up by £36 million by 2020-21 due to further welfare reforms following the 2015 general election.
A council report outlines how the use of foodbanks in the city is high “and continues to be a lifeline for many”.
It adds: “Welfare Reform measures such as the introduction of Universal Credit and DLA to PIP reassessment have contributed to the need for higher numbers of foodbank referrals as have the Concentrix tax credit problems experienced by many claimants in summer 2016”.
Dundee City Council’s policy and resources committee will hear on Monday (Feb 13) that the local authority is working to mitigate effects of the move to Universal Credit (UC) through a series of support measures.
A detailed report outlines how a move to a full digital service for UC will impact on rent arrears and explains concerns about how some people will manage their own claims online. The council is providing help for people in council offices and libraries to make their claim online and is providing personal budgeting support.
Dundee welfare rights teams are now holding sessions in some local GP surgeries to get help to people directly. Early indications show that claimant benefits of £38 can be generated for patients in extra welfare benefits for every £1 spent on welfare rights officer time in practice.
A recent Social Return on Investments report into the project suggests that every £1 invested in the project has generated a social return of up to £50.
Depute policy and resources convener Councillor Willie Sawers said: “This is one of the most harrowing reports that the council has produced and lays bare the cost of the UK Government’s welfare reform to the poor and vulnerable across our city.
“The council is working hard to help individuals and I am pleased to see how various measures like the Scottish Welfare Fund are helping to mitigate the situation for some people.
“I look forward to the Scottish Government having greater control of welfare powers as this will make a significant contribution to improving the situation.
“As a council, we are working very hard with our partners and promoting innovative methods with technology to help people make the most of what is available to them.”
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