Income Support

Income Support

DWP describe Income Support (IS) as a benefit that may be available to people who can't be available for full-time work due to such reasons as sickness or disability or being a lone parent or carer, and don't have enough money to live on. Eligibility for IS is dependent on personal factors including health, family, savings and employment.

From 27 October 2008 Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) replaces Incapacity Benefit (IB) and IS paid on incapacity grounds for new customers. The principle of Employment and Support Allowance is that everyone should have the opportunity to work and that people with an illness or disability should get the support they need to engage in appropriate work, if they are able. For new customers, ESA will replace IB and IS paid on incapacity grounds. Existing IB or IS customers will initially continue to receive their existing benefits, so long as they satisfy the entitlement conditions. ESA offers personalised support and financial help if people are not working due to an illness or disability. It gives people access to a specially trained personal adviser and a wide range of further services. Statistics on ESA can be found on the Incapacity Benefits webpage. Changes were made to the way lone parents claim benefits which resulted in some moving off IS and onto Job Seekers Allowance during late 2008 and 2009.

Figure 1: Income Support Claimants (February 2001 to August 2013 )
Graph showing Income Support Claims
*Relevant population is the population of any relevant qualifying age group described above.

1.9% of working age people in Highland receive Income Support (IS), lower than both the Scotland average of 2.7% and the United Kingdom average of 2.6%. The gentle decline since 2004 in the percentage of people receiving IS in Highland matches similar declines in both Scotland and the United Kingdom. The latest figures show no evidence of numbers increasing as a result of the credit crunch and developing recession.

The large drop in Income Support Claimants in November 2003, as shown in the graph above, is caused by claimants aged over 60 being transferred to Pension Credits at this point.

Income Support Claimants by Multi-Member Wards ( August 2013 )

There is a wide variation in the number of people in each ward receiving IS and wards containing deprived areas have over 11 times as many claimants as less deprived wards. The wards with the highest percentage of people receiving IS are Inverness Central (3.9%), Cromarty Firth (3.7%) and Wick (3.3%) while the lowest is Eilean a' Cheò (0.7%). Only three wards have a higher percentage of people receiving IS than the Scotland average.

Ward No Ward Name All Income Support Claimants % of population aged 16 to 59 claiming Income Support
1 North, West and Central Sutherland 30 1.0
2 Thurso 105 2.4
3 Wick 130 3.3
4 Landward Caithness 70 1.1
5 East Sutherland and Edderton 55 1.4
6 Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh 95 1.5
7 Cromarty Firth 255 3.7
8 Tain and Easter Ross 130 2.6
9 Dingwall and Seaforth 130 1.8
10 Black Isle 55 1.0
11 Eilean a' Cheò 40 0.7
12 Caol and Mallaig 60 1.3
13 Aird and Loch Ness 55 0.9
14 Inverness West 140 2.7
15 Inverness Central 350 3.9
16 Inverness Ness-Side 105 1.8
17 Inverness Millburn 75 1.6
18 Culloden and Ardersier 110 1.6
19 Nairn 150 2.3
20 Inverness South 110 1.1
21 Badenoch and Strathspey 65 0.9
22 Fort William and Ardnamurchan 105 1.6
39 Highland 2,450 1.9
Source: Department for Work and Pensions data from NOMIS

Income Support Claimants by Local Authority ( August 2013 )

West Dunbartonshire (4.4%), Glasgow and Inverclyde (both 4.1%) have the highest claimant rate while Shetland (0.9%) and Orkney (0.7%) are the lowest with Highland being towards the lower end of the range. The number of people claiming IS fell in all Authorities over the previous 12 months, with the drop of 35.9% in Highland being one of the biggest reductions.

Local Authority Claimants % of population aged 16 to 59 claiming Income Support % change in claims over last 12 months
Aberdeen City 2,460 1.7 -33.2
Aberdeenshire 1,770 1.2 -30.6
Angus 1,330 2.1 -33.2
Argyll & Bute 870 1.9 -35.6
Clackmannanshire 920 3.1 -31.9
Dumfries & Galloway 1,880 2.3 -33.3
Dundee City 3,340 3.7 -31.3
East Ayrshire 2,410 3.4 -29.7
East Dunbartonshire 980 1.7 -25.8
East Lothian 1,270 2.2 -25.7
East Renfrewshire 890 1.8 -21.9
Edinburgh, City of 6,530 2.1 -33.0
Eilean Siar 180 1.2 -37.9
Falkirk 2,360 2.6 -29.3
Fife 6,030 2.9 -28.5
Glasgow City 16,020 4.1 -34.6
Highland 2,450 1.9 -35.9
Inverclyde 1,900 4.1 -32.4
Midlothian 1,430 3.0 -22.3
Moray 870 1.7 -31.5
North Ayrshire 2,910 3.8 -27.8
North Lanarkshire 7,200 3.6 -25.2
Orkney Islands 80 0.7 -57.9
Perthshire & Kinross 1,510 1.8 -32.3
Renfrewshire 3,320 3.2 -27.0
Scottish Borders 1,240 2.0 -28.7
Shetland Islands 120 0.9 -36.8
South Ayrshire 1,840 3.0 -30.0
South Lanarkshire 5,640 3.1 -26.8
Stirling 1,050 2.0 -29.1
West Dunbartonshire 2,350 4.4 -29.0
West Lothian 2,870 2.7 -27.2
Scotland 85,980 2.7 -30.6
Great Britain 958,760 2.6 -26.4
Source: Department for Work and Pensions data from NOMIS