Children’s commissioner considers welfare legal action

Child poverty web

Scotland's children's commissioner has said that a complaint could be issued against Universal Credit

4th December 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A champion for children’s rights has said legal action is being considered against the Universal Credit rollout.

Scotland’s children’s commissioner Bruce Adamson said a legal complaint could be issued against the welfare changes if the rollout further disadvantages children.

He highlighted that the changes could result in children going without basic rights, such as a warm home or meals.

Adamson said: "While we don't have the Convention on the Rights of the Child within our domestic law yet, we do have the Humans Rights Act which brings in the European Convention on Human Rights and the courts look very closely if a state falls below that minimum standard required, where the state fails to provide those basics of life.

"So certainly if children in Scotland aren't getting those basic things then legal action may be the way to take this forward. But it's not the best way."

The commissioner said he was engaging with ministers, from the both the UK and Scottish governments, about the impact the benefit changes were having on the human rights of children and young people. He described poverty as the biggest human rights issue affecting young people in Scotland.

In response, a Depart of Work and Pensions spokesman said that Universal Credit is improving the situations of people living in poverty.

"In December, claimants can request an advance of up to 50% of their first payment and a further 50% in January if they need it, repayable over 12 months,” the spokesman said.

"Universal Credit lies at the heart of our commitment to help people improve their lives and raise their incomes. It provides additional, tailored support to help people move into work and stop claiming benefits altogether."