Local SNP politicians welcome responsibility for devolved benefits to be transferred April 2020

Stuart McMillan MSP and Ronnie Cowan MP have welcomed the news that full responsibility for devolved benefits will be transferred to the Scottish Government on 1st April 2020, with the SNP Government laying out its timetable for their delivery this week.

By the end of 2021, the Scottish Government will be delivering new claims for all Disability and Carer’s Assistance, and supporting families with their winter fuel bills.

Social Security Scotland, which handles the delivery of devolved benefits, made its first payments in September 2018 – delivering the Carer’s Allowance Supplement, which has paid out over £33 million to more than 77,000 carers, and the Best Start Grant, which has put £2.7 million into the pockets of more than 7,000 families in just its first two months.

Commenting, Mr McMillan said:

“Every week we hear about the detrimental impact of the UK Government’s so-called welfare reforms.

“My office is frequently contacted by people struggling to live on Universal Credit – plunging people into crisis as they fall behind on rent, are unable to adequately heat their homes, and find it hard to put food on the table.

“While Westminster is paralysed by the shambolic Brexit process, the SNP in Government last year passed the Social Security Act to develop a social security system with dignity, fairness and respect at its heart.

“Consequently, the Scottish Government is successfully delivering the Carers Allowance Supplement and the first Best Start Grant payments ahead of schedule, with further benefits due to be rolled out this year.

“The SNP has always been clear about our ambition for a person-centred approach that puts the needs of the people of Scotland first. I am therefore delighted that the government has prioritised the protection of people and their payments, and ruled out reassessments and reapplications when cases begin their transfer from the DWP.

“While the majority of social security powers remain reserved to Westminster, the SNP are determined to use our powers where possible to make the system fairer, get decisions right first-time, and build a system that the people of Scotland can rely on and be proud of.”

Ronnie Cowan MP added:

“I welcome the steps being taken by the Scottish Government to create a social security system which is fairer and puts the claimants’ needs first and foremost. This differs drastically from the UK Government system, which punishes those who claim support and has a sanctions regime that is regressive.

“Having recently met both the Minister for Disabled People and the Minister for Employment, I pressed the case for improvements to welfare support and the need for further changes to Universal Credit. I will be presenting my public petition to parliament, signed by hundreds of Inverclyde residents, in the near future.”

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