Audit Scotland Highlights Devolved Benefits Achievement

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£3.9bn+ to Benefit a Million People in 2022-23

A new report published by Audit Scotland has highlighted the Scottish Government’s “significant achievement” in the scale and pace of delivering the devolved programme of social security benefits in Scotland.

This includes seven new payments unavailable anywhere else in the UK.

The report notes that this work continued despite ongoing challenges due to the pandemic. It further acknowledges that the Scottish Government has continued to successfully deliver existing social security benefits and introduce complex new ones – including Scottish Child Payment, Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment – in challenging circumstances.

The Audit Scotland report also recognises the importance of social security in our collective national mission to tackle child poverty, in mitigating the cost of living crisis and in addressing inequalities.

In line with Scottish Fiscal Commission forecasts, the Scottish Government has committed over £3.9bn for benefit expenditure in 2022-23 – providing support to more than one million people. This is over £360m above the level of funding to be received from the UK Government through Block Grant Adjustments.

– Graeme

This Scottish Government has delivered a range of critical new devolved social security payments – most unique to Scotland, and now benefitting people in Angus and across the country – and has done so through very challenging global circumstances.

It is welcome that the report by Audit Scotland recognises this for the significant achievement that it is.

The SNP in government is building a new, better welfare system from scratch – based on dignity, fairness and respect, and with the extensive input of people with lived experience of the UK system and its many flaws.

I am proud of the progress made thus far, and look forward to the key further developments to come this year, with expansion of the Scottish Child Payment, a new winter heating payment and the rollout of the Adult Disability Payment – the latter from next month here in Angus.

– Minister for Social Security, Ben Macpherson

I am pleased that this Audit Scotland report recognises the significant progress we have made in building a new public service from scratch since 2018 and delivering 12 benefits – seven of which are completely new forms of financial support that are not available anywhere else in the UK.

We have successfully introduced a range of benefits that are now supporting carers and low-income families with their living costs, including with heating and we are helping disabled people to live full and independent lives.

This year will see us deliver even more for the people of Scotland. Our Scottish Child Payment will be extended to eligible children aged under 16 and be increased to £25 per week per child by the end of the year, supporting over 430,000 eligible children; and in winter 2022/23 we will introduce our new winter heating payment for low-income households – a stable £50 payment that will support 400,000 low-income households with their heating costs. We will also continue to roll out Adult Disability Payment, our most complex benefit, and significantly progress transferring tens of thousands of Scottish disability benefit cases from the DWP to Social Security Scotland.

I am proud that we have built our social security system with the people who will use it, and appreciate that the report acknowledges our focus has delivered a service built on our principles of dignity, fairness and respect. The report also notes the positive feedback people have shared about their experiences of engaging with Social Security Scotland.

We have been ambitious in our delivery timeline – including introducing new benefits while dealing with the pandemic – and we are ensuring that we transfer tens of thousands of cases safely and securely from the DWP to Social Security Scotland. As well as delivering benefits now and in the period ahead, we are responsibly and ambitiously developing a new social security system that will serve Scotland for many years to come, putting people at the heart of everything we do.

Background

Social Security Scotland currently administers 12 benefits:

  • Carer’s Allowance Supplement
  • Pregnancy and Baby Payment
  • Early Learning Payment
  • School Age Payment
  • Best Start Foods
  • Funeral Support Payment
  • Young Carer Grant
  • Job Start Payment
  • Scottish Child Payment
  • Child Winter Heating Assistance
  • Child Disability Payment

Adult Disability Payment, the replacement for the UK Government’s Personal Independence Payment, is being introduced in phases ahead of national rollout on 29 August:

21 March – Dundee City, Perth and Kinross or the Western Isles

20 June – Angus, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire

25 July – Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, East Ayrshire, Fife, Moray, North Ayrshire or South Ayrshire

29 August – All Scotland