MPs launch inquiry into impact of UK welfare policies in Scotland

A Westminster committee has launched an inquiry to examine how Scotland is impacted by UK welfare policies.

The Scottish Affairs Committee inquiry will look at how policies such as Universal Credit (UC) and the two-child limit impact the country.

It will also consider the possible implications of the transfer of welfare powers to Scotland over the next few years.

The Scotland Act of 2016 set out that welfare powers including disability and carers benefits would be devolved to the Scottish Parliament as part of the biggest transfer of powers since devolution in 1999.

Launched on Tuesday at Citizens Advice Scotland in Glasgow, the inquiry is now open for submissions regarding a number of aspects of welfare policy, such as evaluating how UC is working in Scotland and whether any issues created by it are specific to the country compared with the rest of the UK.

It will also seek views on how the benefit cap has impacted people in Scotland and will consider whether some communities have been disproportionately affected.

The level of co-operation between the UK and Scottish governments regarding the devolution of new welfare powers will also be scrutinised as part of the inquiry, as well as how these can be transferred safely and securely.

Committee chairman Pete Wishart MP said: “Universal Credit is designed to make claiming benefits simpler and more beneficial, but most of us are aware that the policy has been fraught with issues from the start.

“Scotland was one of the first places UC was trialled and my committee wants to find out what impact it’s had on the everyday lives of Scottish people, and what the UK Government can do to make it better.

“We’re also going through the biggest transition of powers since devolution in 1999 and it’s vital that welfare responsibilities are transferred smoothly to ensure continuity of payments for benefits claimants.”

Stakeholders will have until 5pm on August 2 to submit written evidence to the inquiry.