Welfare benefits reform has now regularly been hitting the headlines as the media has finally realised the huge effects of the new legislation on the lives of thousands of people. It seems that every week now for example there are requests on Twitter for people affected by the bedroom tax to contact journalists eager to produce stories highlighting the new policy on “under occupation”. It would have perhaps have been helpful to have had this level of interest 2 years ago as the bill proceeded through Parliament but it may have been hard then to imagine the implications of what was being proposed.
Last year we looked at the role the Sentinel had to play in keeping people aware and informed about major benefit changes affecting them in the 1980s and 1990s. The sweeping changes brought about through the Fowler Review and the resulting effects for those claiming benefits were highlighted in detail by the paper and readers were encouraged to get advice from local organisations and agencies.
With these new changes coming into force starting in April this year, it is equally important that those affected are aware of how the new requirements will impact on their lives and that they receive advice on their particular situation and potential options. A Welfare Reform Information Event is being held next week in Wester Hailes on Wednesday 13th March at the Library. This is a drop in session organised by Prospect Community Housing, CHAI and City of Edinburgh Council. It’s a chance for local residents to find out if they are affected, who they need to talk to and where to get further support. People can drop in at any time between 3pm-7pm.