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Clydesdale’s MSP, Aileen Campbell has backed a new report by Citizens Advice Scotland which criticises the UK Government’s Digital Strategy and its impact on vulnerable or excluded people.

The UK Government’s policy will mean that claimants for welfare now have to apply for benefits online, with the unemployed expected to use the internet to fill in job application forms.

However, Citizens Advice Scotland say the focus of the digital strategy should be on support and encouragement, not compulsion.

Reacting to the publication of the report Aileen said:

"I agree with the broad findings of this study: people who are entitled to benefits should be able to access them in a way which suits their needs.

"Many of the most vulnerable in society don’t have access to the facilities to allow them to complete applications online. Moreover, many of my constituents who are seeking job opportunities and who live in some parts of rural Clydesdale where internet coverage is poor, will have real difficulties - indeed some will be completely excluded.

"I understand the UK Government say they are working to identify those who need extra help, however that is weak response when we are talking about some of the most vulnerable and marginalized members of society from accessing the very services they rely upon.

"This report comes in the wake of the UK Government’s unprecedented changes to the welfare system and punitive cuts of at least ?18 billion to the welfare budget. At a time of significant upheaval the UK Government should be providing assistance to those in receipt of benefits, not putting barriers in their way".

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Aileen Campbell MSP, Kirkton Chambers, 12 Kirkton Street, Carluke ML8 4AB • 01555 750 249 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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