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That this House welcomes the Citizens Advice Scotland report, Pillar to Post on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) which estimates 115,000 incapacity benefit claimants in Scotland will lose entitlement to sickness benefits, leading to a 390 million reduction in annual benefit payments and posing a challenge to local economies across Scotland; notes that the report highlights the multiple barriers to employment many former claimants will face as they aim to replace this income, including the current economic climate, high unemployment rates, weak local economies in areas of high number of claimants and a lack of recent or relevant experience; further notes the huge impact ESA is having on citizens advice bureaux (CAB) across Scotland, which saw a 33 per cent. increase in ESA issues from 2009-10 to 2010-11 and an 82 per cent. increase in representation by CAB at ESA tribunals; further notes that tribunals took over 1,100 working days of CAB adviser time in 2010-11 and that 69 per cent. of tribunals, where a CAB provided representation, found in favour of the claimant; is concerned that the citizens advice service has not received any funding from the Scottish government to cope with this increase in representation and advice that is so needed by so many; and calls on the Government and devolved administrations to work with employers to end discrimination against sickness benefit claimants, to ensure that former claimants are a priority group for work programme providers, and to continue to evaluate and reform ESA to make it fit for purpose and address the flaws that remain in the system.
Total number of signatures: 9
Showing 9 out of 9