Since 2010 the UK Government has been implementing a wide range of reforms to the welfare benefits system. Their aim is to get Britain working, fight poverty, support the most vulnerable and help people break the cycle of benefit dependency. The reforms are described by the government as the biggest change to the welfare system in over 60 years and have been introduced as part of the Welfare Reform Act 2012.
What are the main changes?
One of UK Government’s key reforms is the introduction of Universal Credit which started to being introduced from October 2013. It will replace six of the existing working age benefits into a single monthly payment. It is being rolled out nationally in stages and will start in Orkney from 11 May 2015.
Reductions in Housing Benefit, for those who under-occupy their property, came into effect from April 2013 and Personal Independence Payments will start to replace Disability Living Allowance from June 2013.
The Scottish Welfare Fund was introduced in April 2013 to provide a system of Crisis Grants, for those on low incomes to help meet living costs in an emergency or disaster, or Community Care Grants to help prevent people going into care and to live independently.
What are the Council doing about welfare reform?
A Welfare Reform Working Group has been set up under the Orkney Community Planning Partnership to bring together a wide range of interested bodies and organisations to discuss the implications of the Government's welfare reforms.
Members of the Welfare Reform Working Group include the Council's Corporate Services' Benefits Service, Housing Services, Social Services; Voluntary Action Orkney; Advocacy Orkney; Orkney Disability Forum; Orkney Housing Association Limited; Orkney Islands Property Development Limited; Jobcentre Plus; Orkney Citizens Advice Bureau.
The Council's Policy and Resources Committee has also considered welfare reform reports on 27 November 2012 (item 13), 19 February 2013 (item 12) and on 30 September 2014 (Item 9). These reports can be viewed on Related Links on the left of this web page.
For more information you can download additional documents in Portable Document Format from Related Downloads on the left of this webpage. You can also get more information on other Uk Welfare Benefits in Related Sites and Related Links on the left of this web page.