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Social Security and Income Maintenance in Scotland: Experience and Gender Equality Impact

Project Description

Project Reference number: GSBS-2019-125

The Scotland Act 2016 devolved significant new social security powers - conferring approximately 15% of total spending on welfare benefits - to the Scottish Parliament and Government. In addition, Scottish Governments have introduced various measures intended to ameliorate some of the effects of the austerity measures and welfare reforms introduced by successive UK governments since 2010. These include the Scottish Welfare Fund, mitigation of the Underoccupation penalty / ‘Bedroom Tax’ and a Council Tax reduction scheme, among other measures. These new devolved powers were enacted in the 2018 Social Security Act, which established a Social Security Agency - developed in consultation with a number of ‘experience panels’ reflecting the views of service users. This Agency is governed by a Charter and committed to a set of ‘core principles’ based on human rights, dignity and respect for beneficiaries.
This PhD project will develop this experiential dimension further and examine what impact these measures have had on household finances and well-being in Scotland, by exploring the views of those who have and are receiving these benefits. In particular, the project will examine the implications of the various initiatives undertaken in Scotland for intra-household budgets and women’s financial security and economic autonomy. In this respect the project develops and extends a gendered perspective on social security, household finances and poverty. This project builds upon and combines the respective strengths of two of GCU’s leading research centres: the Women in Scotland’s Economy (WISE) centre and the Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit (SPIRU). The supervisory team will be happy to discuss further details of the proposal with and consider the ideas of prospective applicants.

Supervisor Research Profiles

Director of Studies: Prof. Sara Cantillon

GCU Research Online URL:

2nd Supervisor: Prof. Stephen Sinclair
GCU Research Online URL:

3rd Supervisor: Dr. Angela O’Hagan
GCU Research Online URL:

How to apply

This project is available as a 3 years full-time PhD study programme with expected start date of 1 October 2019

To apply for this project, use the following link to access the online application form, as well as further information on how to apply:

Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview within four weeks from the closing date.

Please send any other enquiries regarding your application to:

Funding Notes

Exceptional candidates will be put forward for the scholarship competition. The Scholarship packages available include fully funded studentships and fees only scholarships. The fully funded studentships are worth £19,300 per year for 3 years, subject to satisfactory progress. They cover payment of tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend of £14,800.

For further details on funding see View Website

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