Page last updated at 13:47 GMT, Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Welfare Reform Committee 1

Citizens Advice Scotland told the Welfare Reform Committee advice services must receive sufficient funding to help mitigate the impact of the Welfare Reform Act on the most vulnerable people in Scotland on 13 March 2012.

Matt Lancashire from Citizens Advice Scotland said advice services should receive similar support to their counterparts in Wales where the Welsh government has announced £6.6m of funding.

Mr Lancashire was taking part in a wide ranging round table discussion on the impact of the UK legislation on Scotland.

Carolyn Roberts from the Scottish Association for Mental Health said there were a "wide range of concerns" about the effects of the legislation including the loss of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and the resultant loss of passported benefits, which arise from receiving DLA.

Ms Roberts said many people won't qualify for the DLA replacement, the Personal Independence Payment.

She also highlighted her concern that people with mental health problems who are not well enough to work would be forced to look for work if they do not qualify for income-based Employment and Support Allowance and this should be a priority for the Scottish government to address.

Dr Jim McCormick, Scotland adviser with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: "We can talk about a mitigation, long-term prevention agenda for Scotland, but the big picture here is an increase in poverty which winds the clock back to the date when this Parliament began in 1999, in terms of child poverty levels."

Also expressing concerns about the legislation and calling for mitigation from the Scottish government were David Griffiths from Ecas; Bill Scott from Inclusion Scotland; Michael McClements from COSLA; David Ogilvie from the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations; Maggie Kelly from Poverty Alliance, Richard Hamer from Capability Scotland and Councillor Matt Kerr from the Scottish Local Government Forum Against Poverty.

The Welfare Reform Committee's role is to review the legislation and monitor its implementation as it affects welfare provision in Scotland.

SNP and Labour MSPs formally protested against changes to the UK benefits system taking the unprecedented step of voting against a Westminster "consent" motion.

The UK government has said the Welfare Reform Act would save billions of pounds by replacing Disability Living Allowance with a personal independence payment and replacing a range of other benefits with a single universal credit.

But these changes will have a knock-on effect for devolved services such as social care and devolved entitlements such as free school meals.

The second round table discussion with children's charities can be viewed below:

Welfare Reform Committee 2

Subordinate Legislation Committee membership


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