The first social security payments to be delivered by the Scottish Government have been outlined to parliament by Social Security Secretary Angela Constance.
The next milestone in building Scotland’s new social security system will be the delivery of the first benefits which will be the increased Carer’s Allowance, the Best Start Grant and the Funeral Expense Assistance. The new benefits will be subject to the scrutiny and agreement of the Scottish Parliament.
Commenting, Ruth said: “The Scottish Government is committed to building a social security system with fairness, dignity and respect for all at its heart, and there is no better way to show this than providing the support that they need and when they need it.
The first Scottish social security payments are important first steps as we build our fairer and more accessible social security system.
“The new Best Start Grant is a substantial investment in a child’s early years and aligns with the SNP Scottish Government’s wider work aimed at giving children the best start in life, contributing to tackling child poverty, improving health outcomes, and raising attainment. In contrast to the UK Government, whose equivalent grant is a single payment of £500 to families on low incomes, we will increase this to £600 for the first child, recognising that the UK rate has not increased in over a decade as well as reintroducing payments of £300 for second and subsquent children—a cut made by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition in 2011.
“We will also make sure that the new Funeral Expense Assistance is more straightforward and accessible to apply for than before as the previous process has often been reported as over complex and time-consuming, and will ensure that Carer’s Allowance is increased to the same level as Jobseeker’s Allowance
“It is clear that this SNP Scottish Government is committed to making a positive difference to people’s lives with the new powers over social security that are coming to this Parliament.”