17 February 2017
Introduction of Universal Credit in Scotland - research briefing published
The Scottish Parliament have published a research briefing on the introduction of UC in Scotland. The briefing looks at who can claim UC and some of the difficulties with its introduction. It also includes a useful glossary of common UC terminology. It also contains links to useful research on the impacts of UC on claimants so far.
There is a section of the report which looks at the challenges that UC poses for the Scottish Government and three areas are identified:
- UC flexibilities – the Scottish Government have the power to change certain aspects of UC. They are currently consulting on the option for claimants to be paid twice monthly (instead of monthly) and the option for tenants to have payments of housing costs made direct to their landlord
- The need for support with UC – the report identifies that evidence is emerging of a significant need for support to manage claims for UC. As UC full service is rolled out across Scotland, the numbers of claimants will increase dramatically and will increasingly include more vulnerable groups. It concludes that effective agreements will be needed to ensure that vulnerable groups are able to manage their UC claims in the longer term and that in some areas arrangements may not be sufficient to meet demand.
- Wait for the first payment of UC – the first payment of UC may not be made until six weeks after the date of claim. Advance payments from DWP are effectively a loan of future UC entitlement, which is recovered from future UC payments. The report cites evidence given to the Scottish Parliament Social Security Committee from various organisations about the impact of this on claimants.
The report also looks at two related areas where UC will have an impact – Council Tax Reduction and passported benefits.
There is also a useful table which shows when local authorities in Scotland will transfer to the UC full service.
You can download the report from the Scottish Government website.
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