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.
🤝 We're determined to build a Scotland free from child poverty.
💷 That's why from April 2022, we are doubling the Scottish Child Payment – the only benefit of its kind in the UK – to £20 a week.
— The SNP (@theSNP) November 29, 2021
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.
🍎 Scotland’s new Best Start Grant School Age payment will open for applications on June 3rd, building on the success of the recently launched Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby payment, to help with things such as educational toys and after school activities. pic.twitter.com/Uilo0M9T0d
— The SNP (@theSNP) January 23, 2019
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.
💷 @SocSecScot have launched the Job Start Payment – a new benefit to help young people aged 16-24 with the costs of starting a new job.
🔎 New work clothes, travel costs or childcare often have to be met before people get paid – and this helps young people cover those costs. pic.twitter.com/2xiPiHrf9H
— The SNP (@theSNP) August 17, 2020
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.
We asked young carers about how our Young Carer Grant has helped them.
Most said the payments helped to make a difference to their lives, gave them access to more opportunities and improved their mental wellbeing.
— Scot Gov Fairer (@ScotGovFairer) August 26, 2021
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.
Scotland only part of UK to see significant drop in food bank use
Scot Gov’s £10 per week payment to low-income families cited as a reason for the drop
— East Neuk and Landward SNP (@ENandLSNP) November 28, 2021
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.
🚨 The UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak just cut Universal Credit by £1040 per year.
⚠️ One-third of households receiving Universal Credit will have their income slashed by 20% – pushing 60,000 Scots into poverty.
📢 We cannot trust the Tories to protect the people of Scotland. pic.twitter.com/CUxXDbOJA1
— The SNP (@theSNP) October 6, 2021
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.
Research by the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows the massive impact the £20 cut to Universal Credit will have across Scotland.https://t.co/nXerQUhtfM
— The Daily Record (@Daily_Record) August 26, 2021
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.
"Open your eyes – there is very real poverty out there."
UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston says there are people in the UK "living in destitution" and that "government people haven't been out in the field to see what the real circumstances are." pic.twitter.com/wb7oPhXG93
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) November 16, 2018
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.
🚨 The UK has the highest poverty rate in North West Europe.
🔎 The UN said a decade of austerity resulted in "tragic social consequences" – with over 600,000 children pushed into poverty under Tory rule.
— Yes (@YesScot) July 15, 2021
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.
💷 A big economy
🎓 Highly-educated population
🌊 Renewable energy powerhouse
🌍 World leader in climate action
🛰️ Innovative industries
It's clear Scotland has what it takes to thrive as an independent country.
Scotland will have the choice.pic.twitter.com/7MagTzyJMz
— Yes (@YesScot) July 26, 2021