The Scottish Campaign on Welfare Reform (SCoWR) is a coalition of over 40 key third sector organisations, faith groups, unions and charities from across Scotland. In addition, we also have individual members.

Formed in 2006 by the Poverty Alliance, CPAG Scotland, Citizens Advice Scotland and Capability Scotland in opposition to the then Welfare Reform Bill, SCOWR has since developed into a proactive campaign calling for a fairer welfare system. 

To date a wide range of organisations in Scotland, including Oxfam, Children 1st, the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Inclusion Scotland, the STUC and Scottish church groups have signed up.

All the organisations agree that our social security system should be reformed to reflect the five principles set out in the SCoWR Manifesto for Change. Any interested organisation or individual is welcome to join. Membership is free and simply involves confirming that you agree with the five principles. Members are welcome to get involved in the campaign steering group if they have the time and resources to do so.

There is more information about the work of the steering group in the Terms of Reference document.

If you would like to join SCoWR please contact one of the following members:

Satwat Rehman
Director, One Parent Families Scotland
Tel: 0131 556 3899

Peter Kelly
Director, The Poverty Alliance
Tel: 0141 353 0440

John Dickie, Head of CPAG in Scotland,
Tel: 0141 552 3656

You can read about the key work of SCoWR below.

SCoWR Campaign Work:

In July 2015, SCoWR responded to the UK Government Consultation "21st Century Welfare".

In October 2014, SCoWR members met to discuss the Smith Commission, and submitted a summary of the discussion to the Commission's call for evidence.

In August 2014, SCoWR responded to the Scottish Parliamant Welfare Reform Commitee's Call for Evidence on the Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill.

In February 2014, SCoWR responded to the consultation on the Scottish Government's draft Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill.

In December 2013, SCoWR responded to the Scottish Government Expert Working Group on Welfare's second call for evidence.

In November 2013, SCoWR launched the refreshed campaign manifesto at an event in Edinburgh.

In April 2013, SCoWR responded to the Scottish Government Expert Working Group on Welfare's first call for evidence.

In March 2013, SCoWR wrote to the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament's Welfare Reform Committee regarding rights to challenge decisions under the Council Tax reduction scheme introduced from April 2013.

In October 2012, SCoWR responded to the Scottish Government consultation on changes to passported benefits required due to the introduction of universal credit and personal independence payment.

In June 2012, SCoWR responded to the Scottish Government consultation on replacement arrangements for devolved aspects of the social fund.

In January 2012, SCoWR wrote a letter to Scottish MPs ahead of the return of Welfare Reform Bill to the House of Commons.

In October 2011, SCoWR issued a response to the Work and Pensions Committee inquiry into the proposal to replace DLA with Personal Independence Payments

In October 2011, SCoWR issued a response to the housing benefit in supported accommodation consultation

In September 2011, SCoWR issued a Welfare Reform Bill 2011 Briefing for the House of Lords

In July 2011, SCoWR issued a response to the SSAC consultation on passported benefits.

In June 2011, SCoWR issued a briefing on the Report Stage of the Welfare Reform Bill. They also wrote a letter to MSPs highlighting the challenges that face the Scottish Parliament arising from the UK Welfare Reform Bill.

In February 2011, SCoWR issued their response to the DWP consultation on proposed reforms to DLA.

In March 2010, SCoWR launched their election ‘manifesto’: A Manifesto for Change.

In April 2009, SCoWR issued a briefing in advance of the Lords second reading of the Welfare Reform Bill, calling for a delay in Scotland in the introduction of the Bill’s provisions relating to 'work for your benefit' and the abolition of income support until such time as adequate affordable childcare is in place.

In February 2009, SCoWR issued a briefing supporting amendments to the Welfare Reform Bill tabled by John Roberston MP at Committee Stage in the House of Commons seeking, at the very least, Ministerial commitment not to introduce new “work for your benefit” or “work related activity” conditions until such time as Ministers are satisfied adequate, affordable and flexible childcare exists across Scotland.

In January 2009, SCoWR issued a briefing in advance of the second reading of the Welfare Reform Bill highlighting our concerns that the proposed reforms to welfare provision will fail to tackle poverty and, in some cases, may even exacerbate it.

In October 2008, SCoWR wrote to the Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions at the conclusion of the UK Government’s Green Paper on Welfare Reform ‘No-one written off: Reforming welfare to reward responsibility’.

Previously, SCoWR sent a letter to all Scottish MPs in 2006, lobbying them on three areas of particular concern:

  •     Compulsion of individuals
  •     Adequacy of benefit levels
  •     Resources available for reform

In addition a postcard campaign was launched highlighting key concerns about the proposals and urged individuals to use the postcard to contact their MPs. In 2007 the coalition also responded to the Green Paper 'In work, better off'.

Campaign News:

Civic Scotland calls for a new approach on Welfare (14.11.13)

The Scottish Campaign on Welfare Reform has relaunched its manifesto for change, outlining the approach needed to genuinely reform the social security system. The manifesto has been endorsed more than 40 organisations from across civic Scotland.

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, said: 'As the hardships caused by the current round of welfare changes begin to bite, there is a clear need for a new approach. Our welfare system should be protecting people, rather then driving them further into poverty. We hope this manifesto provides the basis for the discussion we need about the kind of welfare system we need in Scotland.'

To read the new manifesto click here

SCoWR Submits Evidence to Scottish Government Expert Working Group on Welfare & Constitutional Change (09.03.13)


The Expert Working Group on Welfare was set up by the Scottish Government to look at the how a Scottish welfare system may work in the future if there is a Yes vote in the referendum in 2014. Whilst not taking a position on independence for Scotland, SCoWR has submitted views to the Expert Group in response to their consultation. The Group is expected to report in May 2013. To read the SCoWR evidnce click here

SCOWR welcomes cross party consensus on welfare in the Scottish Parliament

SCOWR has achieved a significant success in the Scottish Parliament. After intensive lobbying by SCOWR, the Parliament held its first debate on the UK Welfare Reform Bill (5th October). The debate and vote on the UK Welfare Reform Bill concluded with a show of cross party agreement on the need to challenge the very damaging impact that the reforms would have on people and communities living in poverty across Scotland.
The debate also highlighted how the Bill poses significant challenges for the Scottish Parliament - parts of the welfare system are due to be devolved and the government now has a real opportunity to put these new powers to good use and improve our current system. Watch the debate here.

See SCOWR's press release, issued in advance of the debate. More

See SCOWR’s Briefing on the Welfare Reform Debate issued to to MSPs in advance of the debate. More

SCOWR gives evidence to the Scotland Bill Committee

SCOWR gave evidence on welfare reform to the Scotland Bill Committee (4th October). We gave evidence on how the UK Welfare Reform Bill will cut across a raft of Scottish devolved policy areas. We also recommended that the committee look into what is needed to ensure that any new benefits which are due to be devolved are available on the basis of equality of access and entitlement to all Scots, regardless of where they live. The evidence informed the parliamentary debate the following day. Watch the evidence session here.

SCOWR highlights Welfare Reform challenges for Scottish Parliament

The Welfare Reform Bill contains a number of challenges for the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Campaign on Welfare Reform has written to all MSPs and several Parliamentary Committees to highlight these. We have outlined the key principles that must underpin the devolution of council tax benefit, discretionary social fund community care grants and crisis loans and the new criteria for passported benefits . We are also calling for full consideration of the implications of the UK Welfare Reform Bill before any legislative consent motion required to implement reforms in Scotland is approved. More


SCOWR has produced a Briefing to the House of Lords  on the Welfare Reform Bill (August  2011). The Welfare Reform Bill is currently being debated in the House of Lords and SCOWR have produced an updated Briefing setting our our key criticisms of the proposals.  More 

SCOWR has submitted evidence to the Westminster Work and Pensions Commons Select Committee Inquiry in to PIP. Personal Independence Payments (PIP) is the controversial proposed replacement  for DLA .  More

SCOWR has submitted a response to the UK Social Security Advisory Committee inquiry into universal credit and passported benefits. With the introduction of universal credit both UK and Scottish Governments will need to consider the triggers for entitlement to passported benefits such as free school meals, the energy assistance package and many more. We argue that any universal credit entitlement should give access to all passported benefits and highlight the role passported benefits play in enabling government to meet wider education, health and anti-poverty targets. More

SCoWR has produced a Briefing to the House of Commons 2nd Reading of the Welfare Reform Bill (June 2011). The briefing sets out SCOWR’s criticism of the Welfare Reform Bill analysing the proposals in the light of SCOWR’s five key principles for a fair and just welfare system. The briefing has been s sent to all Scottish MPs. More 

Press Releases

SCoWR calls for a welfare debate based on ‘respect not myths’ and says that the Welfare Reform Bill must address inadequate benefit levels, reverse ‘pointless’ and ‘humiliating’ conditions and ensure childcare support allows parents to work (13.6.11) Click here to read more.

SCoWR Responds to the Welfare Reform Bill highlighting the fact that it  will do little to protect people from poverty. Whilst accepting the need for a simpilfied system, SCoWR is deeply concerned that there are neither the resources or jobs to make the latest phase of reform work properly.  click here to read more.

Consultation Responses

To see our response the UK Government proposal to abolish DLA and replace it by a new benefit Personal Independence Payment (January 2011) click here.

To see our response to the UK Government paper 21st Century Welfare, setting out their proposals to radically restructure the welfare benefit system (September 2010) click here.

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