£125 million to combat UK austerity
Scottish Government helps thousands hit by benefit cuts.
Scottish Ministers are on course to invest over £125 million in 2018-19 to mitigate the worst impact of UK Government welfare reforms and to protect those on low incomes.
Meanwhile, as at the middle of December, the new Social Security Scotland agency had spent £34 million making over 150,000 payments of Carers Allowance Supplement and Best Start Grants, with applications for the latter only opening on 10th December.
Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:
“I am proud that in the first three months of its operations Social Security Scotland has been able to provide significant extra help to carers and low income families with children.
“However these figures starkly illustrate the significant challenge we face in providing support to those who need it while not having all the powers that would allow us to make a greater difference.
“We are investing over £125 million this financial year on measures that mitigate the very worst impact of UK Government welfare cuts and protect those on low incomes - investments such as £63 million on Discretionary Housing Payments which includes around £51 million to mitigate the bedroom tax in full, £38 million for the Scottish Welfare Fund, and £1.8 million to launch our new financial health check service which will be backed by a further £1.5 million next year.
“As we enter the new year and Social Security Scotland delivers more benefits and helps more people, we will see even more clearly the difference between the UK Government approach to social security and a distinctive Scottish service based upon the principles of fairness, dignity and respect.”
The information for Social Security Scotland spending and payment numbers was correct as of 17 December. Detailed breakdowns of investments and payments will be provided at a later date through official statistics.
UK Government welfare cuts since 2010 are expected to reduce welfare spending in Scotland by around £3.7 billion in 2020/21.