Women bear brunt of benefit cuts

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​Urgent action needed to support women bearing brunt of draconian welfare cuts 

6th July 2015 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Controversial welfare reforms are hitting women hardest, a Holyrood report has revealed.

Women in Scotland were being disproportionately affected by Wesminister's onslaught of benefit cuts, MSPs on Holyrood’s welfare reform committee found.

The committee's is now urging the Scottish Government to make use of new powers over welfare due to come to Holyrood as part of the Scotland bill.

Cuts to a number of individual benefits, including child support and carers' allowance, and a plan to reduce the benefits cap - the maximum amount any household can receive - from £26,000 to £23,000 a year, meant women were more affected than their male counterparts.

MSPs are now calling for an integrated approach to job seeking support across health, housing and social care.

They are also calling for measures to close the gender pay gap in a bid to reduce the number of women relying on benefits.

The UK government urgently needs to look at how women are being affected by these changes

Committee convener Michael McMahon, a Labour MSP, said: "The evidence we have set out confirms the devastating impact on women of the UK government's reforms to the social security system.

"Of particular concern is the cumulative impact on women hit by multiple benefits cuts.

"The UK government urgently needs to look at how women are being affected by these changes and we are also calling on the Scottish government to look at the gender impact of their own policy decisions."

But a spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said: "Our reforms are fixing the welfare system to ensure it promotes work, helps people lift themselves out of poverty and puts public spending on a more sustainable footing.

"There is a record number of women in work in Scotland, and by sticking to our long term economic plan we can ensure more people have the peace of mind and security that comes with a regular pay cheque."

Scottish welfare minister Margaret Burgess said: "Over the next few months we'll be listening to the people affected by the welfare cuts and will be making sure we get the views of women on how we can create a system that suits their needs.

"Our new independent adviser on poverty and inequality will be looking at what more we can do to lift people out of poverty, we have invested £296 million in welfare mitigation measures, extended our childcare and are encouraging employers to pay the living wage."