Calls for Edinburgh report on welfare reform
The impact of the government’s welfare reform is likely to be scrutinised by Edinburgh Council over fears it could have a ‘profound impact’ on some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.
Ricky Henderson, the council’s health and social care convenor, has put forward a motion at a council meeting today calling for a report on the potential impact of benefit changes.
Mr Henderson said: ‘The welfare reform changes made by the government at Westminster are likely to have a significant impact on vulnerable and lower income people in Edinburgh. We need to be fully aware of what this impact is likely to be and prepared to deal with the consequences.
‘It’s also likely that changes to benefit payments will have a direct impact on the council’s finances and this also has to be quantified.’
The call comes as residents from the only Scottish pilot for direct payments claimed they were volunteered for the test without their permission.
Dunedin Canmore Group, which owns 4,500 properties including some in Edinburgh, started the pilot in July. Under the plans, rent benefit payments are paid to tenants who then pay it on to their landlord, rather than directly to the landlord itself.
But residents told local media that they were unhappy with the arrangements, which they say forced them to be ‘guinea pigs’ for the new system.
The housing association said it was trying to prepare people for changes which will come into force across the UK in October 2013.