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.
In just two years since we began making payments, 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 10 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. By the end of this Parliament, we will double the Scottish Child Payment to £20 per week, per eligible child.
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.
💷 The Scottish Child Payment – £10 per week, per child for low-income families – launches today.
📣 It's been hailed as a “game-changer” by anti-poverty campaigners.
✍️ 77,000 applications have already been received.
— The SNP (@theSNP) February 15, 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’ve introduced the Carer’s Allowance Supplement – which in 2020, put an extra £452.40 into carers’ pockets compared to carers in the rest of the UK.
To help with the extra challenges of COVID for carers, we have also made an extra one-off payment of £230.10.
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, homelessness sharply increased, and more than 2,000 food banks opened as a direct consequence of Tory cuts.
And now, while the pandemic is still with us, Boris Johnson’s Tory government is about to impose a £20 a week cut to Universal Credit.
Todays visit with @alisonthewliss @DavidLinden & @neilgraysnp to meet Glasgow’s food bank reps was a timely reminder of the need to keep the £20 uplift in #UniversalCredit. Forcing yet more people into poverty isn’t the mark of a civilised society. UK Gov must do the right thing. pic.twitter.com/ksuX5LFKw4
— Ian Blackford (@Ianblackford_MP) August 26, 2021
More than a third of families in Scotland will lose £1040 a year
New 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, if the Tory cuts go ahead next month.
This is a deliberate plan to make 400,000 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, line 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