SNP promises 'fairer approach to social security' with plans to use new Scotland Bill powers

Written by Alan Robertson on 1 March 2016 in News

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil will confirm a Social Security Bill will be brought forward by the spring of next year if the SNP is re-elected in May

The Scottish Government will today set out plans to abolish the so-called bedroom tax and increase carer’s allowance using new powers set to come to Holyrood.

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil will tell parliament that if the SNP is re-elected for a third term it will introduce a Social Security Bill by the spring of next year.

It comes as Holyrood prepares to take on powers over 11 existing social security benefits under provisions contained in the Scotland Bill.


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Proposals to make the payment of Universal Credit more flexible will also feature among the SNP’s plans. An ‘84-day-rule’, which stops families from receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Carer’s Allowance payments after their child has been in hospital for 84 days or longer, will also be repealed, Neil will say.

It comes after Kezia Dugdale yesterday set out Scottish Labour’s plans to raise the carer’s allowance to the level of Jobseekers Allowance, abolish the bedroom tax via new powers over Universal Credit, and award a full grant to care leavers going into higher education.

Neil, who will lead a Scottish Parliament debate on new welfare powers this afternoon, said: “By spring 2017 we will bring forward a Social Security Bill which will pave the way for us to create a fairer approach to social security that protects and supports the most vulnerable people in our society.

“We will use our powers to ensure our approach to social security meets people’s needs, addresses their priorities and respects their rights.

“This morning I will speak to carers in Edinburgh about our plans to increase the Carer’s Allowance to the same level as Jobseeker’s Allowance.

“This move is a priority for us as it is unacceptable for carers to be paid one of the lowest benefits, if not the lowest benefit, that currently exists under the UK Government’s system.”

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