Glasgow beggars to get help claiming benefits

30 August 2018, 11:16

homeless man

Scotland's largest council is to recruit a specialist worker to help street beggars claim any benefits they are entitled to.

Glasgow City Council is to employ a digital inclusion officer, who will go round the city's streets with a tablet computer and help people with the "complicated and confusing" welfare system.

As well as helping people claim benefits, they will also assist people to get identification and set up bank accounts.

The move is part of the council's begging strategy, which will see a new city centre hub offering help and support to homeless people set up in early 2019.

Councillor Allan Casey, the chair of Glasgow's city centre begging strategy group, said: "The benefits system can be complicated and confusing - especially if you have a chaotic lifestyle and no access to technology or broadband.

"The application process can be daunting, but this new digital inclusion post will take financial and digital support directly to the most vulnerable to help ensure no-one is missing out on the benefits they are entitled to."

The digital inclusion officer will work alongside the Simon Community homelessness charity's street team.

Robin Wallace, assistant director of Simon Community Scotland, said: "This type of assistance is exceptionally important for people living on the margins of society. It will ensure people who need help the most receive it.

"Our experience within the street team recognises that people can spend a large amount of time engaged in street begging, and less time engaging in support and connecting with staff and services, therefore it is imperative that we take this service to them.

"We will fund identification for those who need it to open bank accounts and help them apply for benefits. At the same time, we'll encourage people to access other services on offer to help them improve their lives and their health.

"Working in partnership with our street team, the new digital inclusion officer will provide support which could be instrumental in getting their lives back on track and finding routes out of poverty."