Budget heralds landmark in social security powers
£3.4 billion will go directly to people in Scotland who need it the most.
The creation of a new social security system for Scotland has reached a new landmark with a £3.4 billion allocation for benefit spend in the latest budget announcement.
The Scottish Government has already introduced seven benefits including Best Start Grant, which offers financial support to low-income families in the early years of a child’s life and the Funeral Support Payment, the standard rate of which is being increased from £700 to £1,000, from April.
In the next 18 months the pace of delivery will significantly increase. The Scottish Government will introduce the Scottish Child Payment by the end of the year, hailed as game changing in the fight against poverty by charities, and new disability payments, starting with the Child Disability Payment this summer.
As part of this budget, the Scottish Government has committed £73 million for Discretionary Housing Payments. This includes £60 million a year for continuing to mitigate the UK Government’s bedroom tax, and an increase of £2 million so care-experienced young people receiving a qualifying benefit are further supported from April.
The Scottish Welfare Fund also increases by £3 million, from £38 million to £41 million for 2020/21.
Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:
“This budget is a landmark in the creation of Scotland’s new social security system. We are committing £3.4 billion in 2020/21 to go directly to the people of Scotland who need it the most.
“We are building the new system from scratch - the most significant new public service to be created in Scotland since devolution.
“By the end of this parliamentary term we will have introduced eleven benefits that will help over 800,000 people in the next year. And by 2024 we will deliver 16 benefits and reach 1.8 million children and adults, and pay out an estimated £4 billion.
“We are creating a social security system with fairness, dignity and respect at its heart. A service that has been designed with the help of those that use it, to meet the needs of the people of Scotland now and in future.”
The Scottish Government takes on full responsibility for £3 billion of benefits to support people with disabilities from April 2020.
This year the Scottish Government will introduce: the Child Disability Payment (CDP); Winter Heating Assistance (for those in receipt of the highest payment under CDP); early delivery later this year of the Scottish Child Payment for eligible children under six; and Disability Assistance for Working Age People.
The Scottish Government’s disability benefits will replace the UK Government’s Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance.
The Scottish Welfare Fund helps low-income families and people in Scotland through Crisis Grants and Community Care Grants.
The Social Security Programme Business Case provides a view on the whole life costs and benefits of the Scottish Government’s Social Security Programme over a 30-year timeframe