Plans for delivering new social security powers in Scotland will be set out this week by the Scottish Government, with greater focus placed on the key principles of dignity, fairness and respect.
Social Justice Secretary, Alex Neil, will set out plans for delivering new social security powers in a Parliamentary debate on Tuesday, where he will say that social security benefits are an investment in the people of Scotland and should always put the needs of the individual first.
Responsibility for the delivery and management of a number of social security benefits will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament through the Scotland Bill, amounting to 15.3% of the entire welfare benefit expenditure in Scotland.
These include Carer’s Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance. Other benefits targeted at low-income families will also be devolved to Scotland, such as Maternity Grants and Funeral Payments.
Mr Neil has confirmed that the delivery of new social security powers will be based on five key principles:
- Social security is an investment in the people of Scotland.
- Respect for the dignity of individuals is at the heart of everything we do.
- Our processes and services will be evidence-based and designed with the people of Scotland.
- We will strive for continuous improvement in all our policies, processes and systems, putting people first.
- We will demonstrate that our services are efficient and value for money.
Mr Neil said: “With our new social security powers we have the opportunity to take a different approach and develop policies for Scotland which will help to remove the stigma attached to accessing benefits.
“These policies will be based on principles which will ensure people are treated with dignity and respect. We want to show that social security can be fairer, tackle inequalities, and protect and support the vulnerable in our society.
“It’s understandable that people who receive benefits, who are ill, retired or disabled, will be concerned about how these changes will affect them. I want to reassure them that our priority is for them to receive their benefits on time and with the right amount.
“We want to ease some of the stress of applying for benefits and will make the system easier and simpler to navigate, and align it with our devolved services that support people.
“Over the past year we have engaged with and heard the views of more than 100 organisations through a series of events across Scotland. This is just the beginning of our engagement – we are committed to ensuring that, as we implement our powers and start to make changes, people continue to have a say in the debates and decisions that affect them.”