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Social Security Bill

Landmark legislation published

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Historic legislation to establish Scotland’s first social security system has been introduced to the Scottish Parliament.

The Social Security (Scotland) Bill will give the Scottish Government the powers to deliver eleven benefits devolved as part of the Scotland Act 2016.

It also provides powers to top up reserved benefits and provides a mechanism to pay a Carer’s Allowance supplement at the earliest opportunity.

Publishing the Bill, Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman said it represented a significant milestone in the process of transferring these social security powers safely and securely.

Ms Freeman said:

“This is a significant moment for Scotland and for the history of devolution. It gives this government and this parliament the opportunity to make different choices – and shows that we can create a fairer and more just society when we take matters into our own hands.

“I believe strongly that everyone has a right to social security – so much so that I have put these principles on the very first page of this Bill.

“And these principles are embedded in our approach throughout – whether it is how entitlement to benefits is determined, a more just review and appeals system, or our decision to remove the private sector from disability benefit assessments.

“Dignity and respect is at the heart of our social security policy. I look forward to working with colleagues across the Chamber, the Expert Advisory Groups and our Experience Panels to make choices that work for Scotland, to reinstate fairness into the social security system and to listen to people throughout the process.”

SFHA Policy Adviser Jeremy Hewer said:

"The Social Security Bill will empower the Scottish Government to make significant changes to the way it targets assistance for cold weather and winter heating; it will also empower the Scottish Government to make top up payments, although help with housing costs is excluded.

"These powers could have a significant impact on those in fuel poverty, though it remains to be seen how big an impact it will have on the changes in welfare that have been implemented by the UK Government."

The Social Security (Scotland) Bill is available online.