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Citizens Advice Bureau to launch report into impact of Universal Credit in Stirling

A new report, which details how people in Stirling have been coping with the introduction of Universal Credit, will be launched later.

Stirling Citizens Advice Bureau will also publish their ‘Plain English’ guide, which aims to help claimants.

The report will include a contribution from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on the impact of UC on Scottish poverty.

Due to the five-week waiting period, any claims made this month won’t be processed and paid until January.

Craig Anderson- Bureau Manager said – “All CABx are non political and evidence based. Irrespective of which party is in Government, CABx all over Scotland deal impartially with the impact of policy. In the first year of Universal Credit in Stirling the Bureau dealt with nearly 1100 enquiries concerning this new benefit. The main problems were the claims process itself, payment, advance payments, budgeting, sanctions and the medical assessment.

Over half (54%) of CAB clients do not have an internet connection at home. The significant majority of our clients are disadvantaged by virtue of ignorance of their rights, their responsibilities and of the services available to them and are often unable to articulate effectively with the organisations that are necessary to successfully resolve their social and welfare challenges. More than two fifths (44%) of CAB clients aged between 45 and 59 said they never used the internet. A total of 76% of CAB clients said they would struggle to apply for a benefit online including 39% who said they could not apply online at all. Almost half (49%) of those CAB clients who said they would be completely unable to complete a benefits application online said that their main barrier was that they had never used a computer before.  

Another 16% said that their main barrier would be health related, including physical disability (5%) or mental health problems (4%). We hope that by simplifying the process via our Plain English approach and by continuing to be readily accessible and available to support people in libraries, Stirling CAB will help to minimise the problems Universal Credit is creating for clients”.

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