New research on the impact of welfare reform on Scottish households has been commissioned by a Scottish Parliament committee, it has been revealed.

Research for the Welfare Reform Committee will be carried out by experts, Professors Christina Beatty and Steve Fothergill, from the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University.

The study will aim to measure the impact of the UK Government’s welfare reforms on different household types, says the Scottish Government.

This will be achieved by breaking down the numbers of people affected by the range of different reforms into 15 household groups – including pensioners, lone parents, and couples with or without children.

The research follows two previous reports which measured the financial impact or welfare reforms on families across Scotland, at both a national and regional level.

The committee will publish its report in spring 2015. Its findings will be used to provide an “essential tool” in supporting people struggling to cope with draconian welfare reforms, such as changes to benefits and sanctions.

Committee Convener Michael McMahon MSP said: “Our previous research allowed us to pinpoint communities worst affected by the impact of benefits and sanctions changes.

“The committee has also heard the very personal experiences of individual benefits recipients”, said Mr McMahon.

“This new research will now allow us to build a picture of how welfare reform is impacting on different household types, including pensioners, single parents and couples.”

Deputy Convener, Clare Adamson MSP said that although the “Scottish Welfare Fund is going some way to alleviating the worst effects of the bedroom tax and benefits sanctions”, this new research “will help local authorities and others better target resources in support of the people that need it most.”

Professor David Robinson, head of the Centre for Regional Economic Social Research at Sheffield Hallam, added:

“This important research builds on our track record of looking at how welfare reform has affected people and places.

“This work is particularly important because it looks at the impact of changes on different households. It builds on work by Professors Beatty and Fothergill, recognised as world leading in the recent Research Excellence Framework assessment.”

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