Holyrood - Edinburgh. Photo credit: DSC_0696 via photopin (license)

The Scottish Parliament has backed the establishment of a new and independent Scottish Social Security System, which the Scottish Government say “will have dignity and respect at its heart”.

Holyrood has today passed the Social Security (Scotland) Bill at Stage 3, giving the Scottish Government the powers to deliver eleven benefits devolved as part of the Scotland Act 2016.

The design of the Scottish Social Security System was informed by widespread public consultation with those with direct experience of the benefits system.

Commenting, SNP MSP Ruth Maguire said: “The establishment of this new public service for Scotland is a historic moment.

“This is the first time we will have a Scottish Social Security System – and we will not miss the opportunity to do things better and meet the people of Scotland .

“When Scotland has the power, we take a different and fairer approach than the Tories at Westminster.

“We are ensuring a rights based approach that puts the interests of people first – ensuring that the Social Security Scotland has dignity and respect at its heart.”

Jobcentre Plus sign.

MSPs also voted unanimously to approve an amendment by Green MSP Alison Johnson to “create a requirement to justify [benefit] assessment requests if they are needed”.

Commenting before the vote on the Scottish Green Party’s website, Alison said: “There’s no doubt the UK’s social security system makes a mockery of its name.

“It often undermines people’s security, leaving them dependent on charities to put food on the table, and it does not afford its users the dignity and respect we would hope for in a fair society.”

She added: “By ending these unnecessary assessments, we can prevent the errors and duplication which cause so much disruption and stress to applicants’ lives.

“Existing evidence from GPs, social workers and other professionals should, in many cases, be sufficient to corroborate a claim.”

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