Staff praised as welfare reforms bite

Cllr Altany Craik with job club member and staff - Iris Sauer-Derricutt, Linda Thomson and Tessa Sim
Cllr Altany Craik with job club member and staff - Iris Sauer-Derricutt, Linda Thomson and Tessa Sim

Councillors have praised frontline staff for their efforts in dealing with the public deluge of those affected by new welfare reforms.

Members of Glenrothes Area Committee were given an up-date report on how the town is coping with the Westminster-led legislation following the the Committee agreement to allow further £133,000 worth of emergency funding agreed in May.

Two additional support staff have been taken on to bolster the town’s Welfare Reform Action Plan (WRAP)as they step up efforts to 
deal with the increasing numbers of people threatened 
with having benefits sanctioned.

Councillor Kay Morrison said there appeared to be a set system of “draconian measures to meet government targets regarding sanctions”, adding that the reforms were “fundamentally wrong”.

“We don’t just need crisis intervention but a solid foundation to continue this ongoing support,” she added.

JP Easton, who leads the town’s Community and Development Learning Partnership (CLD)based at Auchmuty Learning Centre, told councillors that extra training was being provided to those facing sanctions and a benefit freeze for the use of PCs and confirmed a number of extra computers were being made available across the area including the Exit Centre in Pitteuchar and Lomond Centre, Woodside.

The CLD’s close work with other support organisations in the town has helped meet the immediate priority to offer practical support for people who are being sanctioned or at risk of it.

Commitment

Glenrothes Area Committee says it is committed to tackling poverty and supporting those members of the public facing the santioning of benefits because of new welfare reform legislation.

Altany Craik, Glenrothes Area Committee chairman, told the Gazette: “We are focused on supporting welfare reform in the Glenrothes area and our most immediate priority is to support people who are being sanctioned or at risk of it.

“Sadly, there’s no quick fix for some of the big challenges we face. By continuing to work together, we’ll make a positive difference to the lives of people in the Glenrothes area.”