The Scottish Greens have called for the creation of a ‘Social Security Commission’ to help determine the most humane approach to delivering new powers over benefits in Scotland.
Maggie Chapman, the party’s social justice spokesperson, accused the former Tory-led coalition government of dismantling the UK’s social security system, and called for tax reforms “to raise revenue to invest in our people”.
She added that the “limited” new powers coming to Holyrood should be used to build a social security system “worthy of the name”.
Chapman also called for the abolition of “stressful and undignified face to face assessments for Personal Independence Payment”, as well as tougher restrictions on Work Programme providers to help “end the unfair [benefit] sanctions regime”.
Maggie Chapman, who is also the Scottish Greens’ MSP candidate for the North East, said: “The Tories, and their Lib Dem enablers in government, have dismantled our social security system.
“With the limited powers coming to Holyrood we must refound a social security system worthy of the name, and we must reform income tax and council tax to raise revenue to invest in our people.
“Greens believe a Social Security Commission comprising benefit claimants, service users and the third sector should look at how best to establish a Scottish social security system, and how we can use that system to tackle inequality.
“We could have had much fuller control over welfare had it not been for Labour’s intransigence during the Smith Commission.
“A key priority for the Scottish Greens is ending stressful and undignified face to face assessments for Personal Independence Payment.
“And we’d insist that providers of the soon to be devolved Work Programme were prevented from sharing information with the UK Government so we could end the unfair sanctions regime.
“A humane social security system is possible but we need a bolder Holyrood with more Green MSPs to advance the case”.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Liberal Democrats pledged to increase the number of affordable homes by 50,000, including 40,000 social homes, and a “fair” social security system.
The party pledged to increase Carer’s Benefit to the level of Jobseeker’s Allowance, fully abolish the ‘bedroom tax’ and ensure that housing benefit is paid directly to landlords.
Other pledges include retaining entitlement to housing benefit for those aged 18-25, a pilot scheme which would see a “Finnish-style baby box” given to parents of new-born babies, and increased investment in education and mental health services.
Party leader Willie Rennie said: “Our programme for Scotland is ambitious and progressive. We are offering the biggest investment in education since devolution, new plans for mental health services, new laws to guarantee our civil liberties and new investment so we can exceed our climate change targets.”