Scottish Government’s Response to Welfare Reform

Scottish Government Approach

In May the Minister agreed that COSLA and the Scottish Government should jointly respond to the DWP’s housing benefit reforms.  An action plan was developed which has been informed by discussion and agreement with members of a stakeholder’s Advisory Group.

This is consistent with the overall approach used to date of influencing and mitigating against the reforms, but also takes into account of the fact that Welfare Reform legislation was passed by the UK Parliament in March.  There will be opportunities for stakeholders to influence the changes to Scottish legislation as a consequence of the UK Government’s Welfare Reform Act, The key elements of the Scottish Government’s approach are outlined

  • joint Scottish Government-COSLA HB Reform Action Plan -harnessing the collective expertise of the Advisory Group through expert sub groups, delivering a range of projects to influence DWP’s implementation, and informing advice on mitigation. The Advisory Group has been expanded to include a representative from Capability Scotland. With a huge variety in household circumstances our aim is to gain a better understanding of the complex interplay of the many reforms show these changes coalesce and impact on different groups in many different ways
  • mitigation – in addition to the  analysis we have conducted to date we have made £100,000 investment available for training and support for local authorities and social landlords we will also:
    • support councils and key stakeholders with bespoke impact analysis
    • fund ‘community of practice’ web pages to help stakeholders understand and respond to the benefit changes in the Scottish context
    • and work with colleagues to develop advice on a Scottish Government wide mitigation strategy covering all the welfare reforms
  • interaction with the Scottish Parliament Welfare Reform Committee(Scotland Bill) – Stage 1 report – we are taking a proactive approach in providing evidence on housing and homelessness issues.
  • mainstreaming -we will complete a programme of work internally to enable policy leads to consider the reforms in their advice to Ministers

The Scottish Government has an area of its website devoted to welfare reform (link to HB site) and the recent debates in the Scottish Parliament on the Stage 1 report have been transcribed.


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