How Scotland rejected Westminster cuts and chose a better path

Despite limited powers, the SNP Scottish Government took bold steps to set up a new Scottish social security system – with dignity, fairness and respect at the heart of everything it does.

Since we began making payments in 2018, Scotland’s social security system has made a real positive impact on families across the country.

Seven new benefits in Scotland

Social Security Scotland now administers 11 benefits – seven of which are new and unique within the UK, such as the Scottish Child Payment, labelled by charities as a “game-changer” in our fight against poverty.

But our ambition doesn’t stop there. From April 2022, we are doubling the Scottish Child Payment to £20 per week, per eligible child – four times the original amount that campaigners called for.

We’ve built this new system with, for and around the people who use it – guided by the fundamental belief that welfare is not a burden, but an investment in our people.

Supporting families

Our Best Start Grant provides eligible parents or carers with financial support during the key early years of a child’s life.

It includes the Pregnancy and Baby Payment – which provides families with £600 on the birth of their first child, and £300 on the birth of subsequent children – as well as the Early Learning Payment and the School Age Payment, to help with the costs associated with starting nursery and school.

Giving young people the best start in life

We have introduced the Job Start Payment, a new payment to help eligible young people with the costs associated with transitioning into employment.

It provides a payment of £250 – or £400 for a young person with children – to those aged 16-24 who have been out of work, helping to meet costs such as clothing, travel or lunches before receiving their first salary.

That’s on top of our actions to give every young person the chance to thrive – from free university tuition, to record high support for college students and our Young Person’s Guarantee.

A better deal for carers

Under the old UK system, Carer’s Allowance was the lowest of all working benefits.

As soon as new social security powers were devolved to Scotland, we introduced the Carer’s Allowance Supplement – which puts around £460 extra each year into carers’ pockets compared to carers in the rest of the UK.

We’re also doing more to deliver for young carers with the Young Carer Grant – a benefit unique to Scotland that gives £300 a year to 16-18 year olds who care for someone at least 16 hours each week.

Meanwhile, the UK government is ploughing ahead with more cuts…

Eleven years of brutal Tory austerity have caused enormous hardship to people and communities in Scotland, despite Scotland rejecting the Tories for over six decades.

Child poverty soared to its highest level since before World War Two, although child poverty in Scotland is lowest in the UK.

More than 2,000 food banks across the UK have opened as a direct consequence of Tory cuts – although in Scotland, thanks to our progressive policies such as the Scottish Child Payment, demand for food banks has fallen.

And now, during the pandemic and on top of the rising living costs due to Brexit, Boris Johnson’s Tory government has imposed a £20/ week cut to Universal Credit.

More than a third of families in Scotland will lose £1040 a year

Research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has revealed that more than one in three (37%) families with children in Scotland will lose £1,040 per year due to the Tories’ Universal Credit cut.

This is a deliberate plan to make 480,000 Scottish families poorer – causing even more poverty, more hardship, and pushing even more people to food banks.

And yet the Scottish Tories, including Douglas Ross, lined up to defend Boris Johnson’s plan – despite 3,150 families in Douglas Ross’ Moray constituency being affected by the Universal Credit cut.

Tory welfare cuts have been slammed by the UN special rapporteur – who also praised Scotland’s different approach

Leading UN poverty expert, Prof. Philip Alston, accused the UK government in his report of “systematic immiseration of a significant part of the British population” – comparing the Tory welfare policies to the creation of 19th-century workhouses.

In the same report, Alston said the Scottish welfare system is “thriving” – with Scotland on “a very different trajectory” to the rest of the UK in its approach to social security.

Scotland cannot afford being tied to damaging Westminster governments

Thanks to Tory cuts, in-work poverty has risen to record levels in this century.

According to the Child Poverty Action Group, 72% of children in families struggling to afford food have at least one parent who works.

And recent research revealed that the UK already suffers from the worst levels of poverty and inequality of any country in north west Europe – with small independent nations, like Ireland, Belgium or Denmark performing significantly better.

With the powers of independence, we can build a fairer society and a stronger recovery – free from the damaging Tory governments that the people of Scotland consistently reject.

Scotland must have the choice. Click here to pledge your support.