The SNP Scottish Government has consistently done everything it can to mitigate the worst impacts of Tory welfare cuts.
Following the Scotland Act 2016 new powers over social security and employment support will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, including disability benefits, Carer’s Allowance and Winter Fuel Allowance.
With these limited new powers, we will seek to build a Scottish social security system with dignity and respect at its heart.
Here’s how we’re using the social security powers at our disposal to build a fairer Scotland.
1. We have already ensured that nobody in Scotland has to pay the Bedroom Tax. And we will use new powers to effectively abolish it once and for all, protecting over 70,000 households.
2. We are using new powers to make social security fairer. Between 650,000 and 700,000 households will benefit from our reforms to Universal Credit. The changes will mean Universal Credit payments in Scotland will become more frequent and flexible, making it easier for people to manage their money.
3. Over half a million vulnerable households in Scotland – including around 190,000 pensioners and over 80,000 single parents – have been protected from UK Government cuts to Council Tax benefit. And we are increasing the child allowance in the Council Tax Reduction Scheme by 25 per cent, benefiting 77,000 households, including 140,000 children.
4. We have already safeguarded the rights of 2,800 of our most severely disabled by establishing the Scottish Independent Living Fund.
5. We will set up a Scottish social security agency, with dignity and respect at its heart, to administer the benefits that are being devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
6. We will raise the rate of Carer’s Allowance to the same level as Jobseeker’s Allowance – giving carers an extra £600 each year.
7. Over 230,000 low income households in crisis have been helped to buy essentials such as nappies, food and cookers through our Scottish Welfare Fund since it was established in 2013.
8. If the UK government goes ahead with plans to remove Housing Benefit for 18-21 year olds, we will use new powers coming to the Scottish Parliament to restore it.
9. We will change Sure Start Maternity Grants into a new, expanded Best Start Grant. This will provide £600 additional support for low income families during their children’s early years.
10. We are developing proposals on the implementation of a new Jobs Grant for 16-24 year olds returning to work after six months unemployment.
11. We will reform the assessment procedures for disability benefits to end the unnecessary stress caused to applicants.
12. The SNP Scottish Government has secured a commitment from the UK government that our new employment support programmes will be on a voluntary basis and will not interact with the Tories punitive benefit sanctions system.