Social security and in-work poverty to be investigated by a Holyrood Committee


The social security benefits available to people who are in-work but struggling on low incomes is to be the focus of an inquiry by the Social Security Committee. MSPs want to understand if our social security systems are doing enough to help people get out of poverty.

To inform its work in this area, the Committee is keen to better understand the potential impact that the roll-out of Universal Credit is having on in-work poverty. This will include looking at the design of Universal Credit with specific focus on issues relating to in-work claimants such as in-work conditionality and treatment of surplus earnings.

The Committee will also look at the reasons for increasing demand for support from food banks.

Clare Adamson MSP, Convener of the Social Security Committee said:

“People in work should reasonably expect to earn enough to make ends meet. It is, however, a sad fact that there are people in Scotland who are working hard and still not earning enough. Our social security system should support people and has a role to play in addressing poverty and we want to understand what is happening in our communities.

“We already know that there has been a marked rise in food bank usage. We want to understand more about what is driving this in Scotland and what opportunities exist within Scotland’s social security powers that may help to address in-work poverty.”

The Committee has today asked for views on the following

• What impact will Universal Credit have on in-work poverty in Scotland?
• What is the experience so far in full-service areas in Scotland for those who are in work who are moving or have moved on to Universal Credit?
• What is known about those experiencing in-work poverty in Scotland who do not claim or are not eligible for Universal Credit?
• What can or should the Scottish Government do to mitigate any detrimental impact?


Views are sought by 23 August.

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