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‘Alarming’ inequalities for women

Women twice as dependent on social security than men.

More women could be pushed into poverty and disproportionately affected by social security reforms if the UK Government cuts £12 billion from its welfare budget, Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess has said.

Commenting on the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee’s Women and Social Security report Mrs Burgess expressed her fears that the UK Government’s emergency budget would only deepen the gender inequalities highlighted in the findings.

The report backed Scottish Government recommendations on payment flexibilities under Universal Credit and it also highlighted the need for gender impacts to be factored into any policy decisions.

To coincide with the report Mrs Burgess will meet women at One Parent Families Scotland in Glasgow where she will hear their views on how the Scottish Government can create a Fairer Scotland. This comes on the same day as Barnardo’s Scotland and the Scottish Government joined forces to call a halt to proposed cuts.

Mrs Burgess said: “It is alarming to see that women have been disproportionately affected by the UK Government’s benefits cuts and are twice as dependent on social security than men. I am deeply concerned that the UK Government’s £12 billion cuts will only widen this gap.

“With our new powers we will create a fairer and simpler social security system that aims to tackle gender and other inequalities. However we need to know how the UK Government’s cost cutting will affect benefits that are to be devolved.

“Organisations like One Parent Families Scotland and Barnardo’s Scotland see the effects of social security changes on the groups the report highlights as being particularly vulnerable, on a day to day basis, and are rightly concerned about the devastating impact further cuts could have on children.

“We welcome the Committee’s recommendations over Universal Credit and sanctions, and we will continue to do all we can to break down the barriers that prevent women from entering into work.

“Over the next few months we’ll be listening to the people affected by the UK Government’s welfare changes and cuts and, will be making sure we get the views of women on how we can create a system that suits their needs.

“Despite challenges from the UK Government we are tackling poverty head on. Our new Independent Adviser on Poverty and Inequality will be looking at what more we can do to lift people out of poverty, we have invested £296 million in welfare mitigation measures, extended our childcare and are encouraging employers to pay the Living Wage.”

Notes To Editors

More information on the Fairer Scotland discussion is available at:


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