Shona Robison highlights Budget’s social security investment

Shona Robison highlights Budget's social security investment

Shona Robison

Social security spending is to increase to more than £5.1 billion per year through the 2023-24 Budget, supporting around a million people and helping to drive progress towards Scotland’s long term aim of eradicating child poverty, the Scottish Government has revealed.

The centrepiece of this investment is the Scottish Child Payment, which has been increased to £25 per child per week, a 150% increase since April 2022. It is now available to all eligible under 16s – around 387,000 children.

All other Scottish benefits will be uprated in April 2023 by 10.1%, at a cost of £428 million and the Scottish Welfare Fund has been maintained at £41m.

Total spending on social security will be more than £770m above the funding received for social security through the UK Government Block Grant Adjustment.

The Budget also includes:

  • £84m for Discretionary Housing Payment to mitigate directly the impact of UK Government policies including the bedroom tax and benefit cap
  • £752m for the affordable housing supply programme to ensure continued delivery of high quality, affordable homes across Scotland which can contribute to tackling inequality and child poverty

Social justice secretary Shona Robison said: “Through this Budget, we are taking bold action to address the deep inequalities in our society – putting more money in people’s pockets today and working to eradicate child poverty in Scotland.

“Despite the challenging financial position and the corrosive effect of UK Government economic mismanagement and soaring inflation on our budget, our child poverty targets remain ambitious. That is why we are choosing to invest significantly more in social security than the funding we receive from Westminster and helping to mitigate the damaging impact of UK Government welfare cuts.

“The many fair and progressive decisions in this Budget – including funding for housing, education and transport – will help to deliver long-term, structural change as we continue to work with local government colleagues and our partners in the third sector to tackle poverty and support all of Scotland’s families to thrive.”

The 2023-24 Budget will tackle child poverty by:

  • Forecast investment of £5.1bn in social security including devolved benefits and the Scottish Welfare Fund
  • Delivering continued investment in the Scottish Child Payment, increased to £25 per week from November 2022 – one of five family benefits, four of which are only available in Scotland
  • Uprating all other Scottish benefits in April 2023 by September CPI (10.1%)
  • Investing £752m in the affordable housing supply programme
  • Providing £80m of capital funding to support the expansion of free school meals
  • Providing £20m to extend the Fuel Insecurity Fund into 2023‑24 – a lifeline against rising energy prices
  • Continuing to invest in employability programmes that prioritise people who face complex barriers to accessing the labour market, including parents
  • Continuing to invest around £1bn in high quality early learning and childcare provision, with a further £42m invested in holiday food provision and expanding our support for school age childcare.
  • Providing £50m for the whole family wellbeing programme and a further £30m to #KeepThePromise to care experienced children and young people
  • Increasing spend on concessionary travel schemes, providing access to free bus travel for over 2 million people, including all under 22-year-olds.
  • Maintaining £200m annual investment in the Scottish Attainment Challenge to increase the pace of progress on closing the poverty‑related attainment gap.
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