Published On: Thu, Apr 18th, 2013 at 8:18am

Holyrood comes to Glasgow to talk about welfare

Impact of welfare reform to be heard in Glasgow

The impact of welfare reform on people in Glasgow will be discussed when the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee meets in City Halls next week  on Tuesday 23 April 2013.

This follows research published by the Committee on 11 April that the reforms will have the biggest impact in Glasgow, losing the equivalent of £650 a year for every working adult when the reforms are fully implemented.

The meeting has been organised by the Committee in partnership with the Poverty Alliance, and will be held in the Recital room, City Halls, Glasgow on 23 April 2013 from 10.00am – 12.00pm.

Committee Convener Michael McMahon MSP said:-“For the past year, we have been asking the people of Scotland affected by welfare reform to tell us their experiences, their hopes and their fears. We’ve already held two evidence sessions at Holyrood that have been both moving and revealing.

“Glaswegians are known for their straight talking and I don’t expect or want the witnesses to pull any punches when we hear from them. It is important to know what is happening on the ground. Unlike Iain Duncan Smith, we are listening and will hear their views. It is important to us that we work out what we might be able to do differently in Scotland to mitigate the impact on our most vulnerable.”

Witnesses at the meeting include:
• People identified by and working with the Poverty Alliance.
• Members of the Glasgow Stronger Together group, a group of people with learning disabilities who meet and talk about some of the political changes that they are interested in.
• People who have responded to the Committee’s ‘Your Say’ appeal.

The meeting follows the publication of a study, undertaken by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University that estimates that when fully implemented, the welfare reforms will take more than £1.6 billion a year out of the Scottish economy. This is equivalent to around £480 a year for every adult of working age in Scotland. In Glasgow, this rises to £650 a year. Whilst the Scottish average is broadly on a par with the British average, this makes Glasgow only second to Birmingham within Britain in terms of financial loss.

Deputy Convener Jamie Hepburn MSP said:-“Our research demonstrated the devastating impact these reforms will have on Glasgow. Seeing the scale in numbers is important but this reform is not happening to statistics. It is impacting on people – our friends, family and neighbours. Our ‘Your Say’ campaign has been vital to helping people see the faces behind the figures and I think those coming to our Glasgow meeting see this very clearly.”

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance, said:

“As the debate around welfare changes has intensified over the last few weeks, we have seen attempts by some to denigrate and stigmatise those who use our social security system. In this context, the ‘Your Say’ event in Glasgow is all the more important. It is an opportunity to get behind the myths about what living on benefits actually means and to understand the real impact that the changes are having. If we are to find genuine, long-term solutions to the challenges our welfare system face, then it is essential that we listen to those who use the system.”

Background
Members of the public can attend the meeting and book tickets. To book a ticket, please email sp.bookings@scottish.parliament.uk or call 0131 348 5200 or freephone 0800 092 7600 (Textphone users: 0800 092 7100).

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