Scotland’s new welfare agency begins making payments

Social Security Scotland will manage 11 devolved benefits costing £3bn a year.

Benefits: Disability claimants will no longer be assessed (file pic). <strong>PA</strong>
Benefits: Disability claimants will no longer be assessed (file pic). PA

Scotland’s new welfare agency starts making payments today.

Social Security Scotland will manage 11 devolved benefits including Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payments to 1.4 million people at a cost of more than £3bn a year.

The first payments are an increase to the Carers Allowance to 75,000 people across Scotland.

It comes after MSPs approved legislation to introduce the new system in April.

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Then-social security minister Jeanne Freeman hailed the move as the “single biggest transfer of powers since devolution began”.

She said at the time: “This Bill has been an opportunity to set up a new service and to do things differently, to remake the system in a way that better fits with the ambition we have for ourselves as a parliament and for our country, our shared ambition to live with dignity, fairness and respect.”

Ms Freeman said the new benefits system would be “rights based, recognising that social security itself is a human right” and would have a “central requirement that the system should treat everyone with the dignity and the respect they deserve”.

A Green amendment to the legislation banned “unnecessary” medical assessments for disability benefits in Scotland, with applicants instead able to use existing medical reports to support a claim.

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However, Labour MSPs were angered when a bid to increase child benefit payments by £5 across the board was voted down by the SNP, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.


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