News & Blogs
Have Your Say, Share Your Voice!
With Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman MSP
Launch of “Single Parent Families, Sanctions & Family Wellbeing”
What’s been your experience of claiming benefits?
Single parents are still more likely to be unfairly sanctioned than others. When formally challenged, 62% of their sanctions are overturned. What’s the impact of being referred for a sanction, or having a sanction imposed for child and family wellbeing?
Scotland’s New Social Security System
Have your say, shape what happens next.
Scottish Government will control some benefits which have been the responsibility of the DWP. They want to work with single parents and others who have experience of benefits, to help design a new social security system.
Date and time:
Wednesday 26th April 2017
Registration: 09:30 am
Start time: 10.00 am – 13:30 pm
Lunch will be provided
Trades Hall of Glasgow
85 Glassford Street
Glasgow, G1 1UH
Call freephone: 0808 801 0323 or email to register.
Equate Scotland has been working for 10 years to increase the number of women in science, engineering and tech in Scotland and has just launched a new project focused on supporting women who have previously working in these sectors however left either due to caring responsibilities, no longer enjoying the work or a lack of progression. The programme provides career clinics, skills workshops and paid placements with top employers in Scotland to support women back into this work.
There are 40 FREE spaces for women to take part in this programme.
For full details and to apply see the Equate Scotland website.
Surely children should not have their life chances damaged because of the number of sisters and brothers they have?
OPFS supports the decision by key women’s organisations who will refuse to be third party verifiers to help officials implement the so-called “rape clause” which is part of the Conservative government changes where new claimants will no longer receive child tax credits for more than two children.
Our statement is below or you can download the PDF version here.
OPFS supports the decision by Rape Crisis Scotland, Scottish Women’s Aid and other key women’s organisations who will refuse to help officials implement the so-called “rape clause” which is part of the Conservative government changes where new claimants will no longer receive child tax credits for more than two children.
Women who were the victim of rape or conceived while in a coercive relationship will have to prove their third child was born as a result of this in order to qualify for an exemption. In order to prove this, a six-page form must be filled out by a third party professional. OPFS supports those specialist charities who will not cooperate with the DWP by acting as a “third party assessor” to implement an exemption put in place for women who can “prove their pregnancies resulted from rape. Rape Crisis Scotland says that “forcing rape survivors to disclose sexual violence in order to access social security payments is inhumane. OPFS Advisors will still of course offer advice, support parents with claim forms and explain the rules.
OPFS Director Satwat Rehman said
“The decision to impose a two-child limit on benefit payments not only stigmatises mothers but sets apart siblings. Anything which sends the implicit message that a child is unwanted, unvalued or less important surely cannot be defended? These changes will have a profoundly negative impact on family life, as well as wider implications for society.
In extreme situations, older children may be required to leave home before they are fully ready, and large families may break up in order to avoid the two-child limit. Parents with three or more children who have been bereaved or are fleeing domestic violence will be unable to obtain adequate support for all their children. Families affected will include those who were not on Universal Credit when the children were born but who will need to claim in future because of an unforeseen change such as unemployment, poor-health, separation or even death of a parent.
Children in families with more than two children are already at a higher risk of poverty: 39% of children in families with three or more children live in poverty after housing costs, compared with 26% for those in families with one or two children
This is a particularly cruel cut because it suggests some children matter more than others. It’s also contradictory because no parent can predict the future. Families who have the means to support a third child now could struggle in the future and have to claim Universal Credit because of poor health, unemployment or family breakdown. We believe it is irresponsible for the government to go ahead. They must halt implementation of this policy. Surely children should not have their life chances damaged because of the number of sisters and brothers they have?”
Head of Policy and Strategy
One Parent Families Scotland
Child maintenance – where to start?
There are three options that parents may take to arrange child maintenance:
- a family-based arrangement;
- a Minute of Agreement;
- and using the Child Maintenance Service.
Our brand new Child Maintenance factsheet will help you consider making arrangements about money for your child from their other parent.
You can download the factsheet or call the lone parent helpline on 0808 801 0323 for your copy. See Child Maintenance Arrangements>
Scottish Government will not apply two child cap to Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
Families with children will be among those worst affected by UK welfare changes coming into effect, Scotland’s Social Security Minister has said.
A number of UK Government changes come in to force today, which will cut the benefits people in Scotland are entitled to.
The changes will see child tax credits capped at two children – meaning anyone with two children or more will no longer receive child tax credits at the birth of their next child or subsequent children, unless an exception applies. This policy also affects those making a new claim to Universal Credit.
The Scottish Government announced today that the two child cap would not be implemented to Scotland’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme. This scheme reduces the council tax those on low incomes have to pay, with over 75% of recipients not having to pay any council tax at all.
On a visit to meet single parents and families in Glasgow, Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman said estimates showed the two child cap to tax credits will drive up child poverty by 10%.
Ms Freeman said:
“The welfare system is supposed to be there to look after people when things happen in their lives that mean they need financial help to get through periods of difficulty.
“Just the measures being introduced today will take around £200 million out of Scotland’s welfare budget each year by 2021-22. The squeeze will be felt most by families with children, young people and those who have already been hardest hit by continuing UK Government austerity.
“As the Scottish Government take steps to eradicate child poverty, we do so in the face of these cuts which will push even more families into poverty.
“And while we relish the opportunity to take control over a portion the benefits that will be devolved to Scotland, we still will not have the powers to stop these ideologically-driven cuts going ahead. Especially as our budget continues to reduce in real terms.
“Where we do have control, such as over the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, we are refusing to follow this callous two child cap policy. I’ve announced today that the Scheme will not have a two child cap – we will not penalise people for having more than two children.
“I’ve committed to putting dignity and respect at the heart of our new system and we recognise that it is our job to support people to get back on their feet, not make it more difficult.
“It’s time the UK Government did the same, and listened to the concerns that people are raising in Scotland and across the UK about the harsh injustice of their policies.”
Other changes to be introduced on 6 April include:
- the premium payment for the first child will no longer be awarded for new births in families in receipt of child tax credits and new Universal Credit claimants.
- shortening the time that parents who are on Universal Credit can spend at home with their youngest child before having to look for work;
- reducing the amount of money people with work-limiting disabilities or health conditions who make a new claim to employment and Support Allowance and are placed in the work related activity group can receive.
- In addition, the entitlement to housing benefit for 18-21 year olds was changed on 1 April.
Satwat Rehman, Director of One Parent Families Scotland, said:
“Rising child poverty is a scar on our society, and is projected to rise further, as new benefit cuts that could cost the hardest-hit single parents more than £6,000 by 2019, are set to come into force today.
“The changes will put a terrible burden on families across Scotland. It is Westminster government action – rather than merely inaction – that is actively driving down the life chances of single parents and their children.
“OPFS believes urgent changes are needed to turn the tide on child poverty. We are calling on the Westminster government to support families who are struggling on low incomes and rising prices. Ending the freeze on children’s benefits is a crucial first step and as well as the reversal of cuts to Universal Credit.”
More detail on the welfare changes due to be introduced by the UK Government on can be found here: http://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/Benefit_Changes_April_2017
On April 2, Policy in Practice launched a Briefing Paper entitled The Impact of the Two Child Limit to Tax Credits which estimated that the policy will drive an increase in child poverty of more than 10%.
Eight parents from One Parent Families Scotland recently completed an Adult Achievement Award delivered in partnership with Glasgow Clyde College. A few of the parents were invited along to celebrate the pilot at an event in Newbattle Abbey in Dalkeith. The event attended by John Swinney saw the parents supporting delivery of two workshops on their experiences of the course and what they want to do next in terms of learning. The parents also made this film with Glasgow Clyde College.
OPFS Glasgow provides support, advice and information to support single parents who are thinking about or would like to enter training, education or employment. One of our staff team will arrange to meet you at a time and place that suits you to share information and discuss activities and resources that will help you to take up opportunities that suit you and your family’s needs:
- Peer Support
- Advice & Guidance
- Small material grants
- Confidence Building
- Work Preparation
- Welfare Rights
- Money & Debt Advice
- Access to local resources and services
Available Monday to Friday between 9.00am – 5.00pm