Social Security Scotland nears £200m payment milestone in first year
The progress made in building Scotland’s new public service has been outlined today, a year since the Social Security (Scotland) Bill 2018 was passed in Parliament.
Social security secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said that the £197 million in benefit payments made by the Scottish Government to over 77,000 people in the past year showed that social security was an investment in people – a core principle of the Bill.
Ms Somerville also hailed the publication of the Social Security Charter as a clear example of how another principle was being met - that Scotland’s social security system would be designed together with the people of Scotland.
Over the past year Social Security Scotland has established a head office in Dundee and a second major site in Glasgow, with around 400 people employed across both sites and local delivery leads, building a local service in communities across the country.
Ms Somerville said: “Over the past year we have put the biggest transfer of powers since devolution into practice. Progress has been swift and I am delighted within a year we have both the legislation and infrastructure of Scotland’s newest public service.
“We can be pleased with the success we have achieved so far and that Social Security Scotland is now delivering for the people of Scotland every day with much more to come.
“There are challenges ahead, and also many opportunities. To increase the financial support to those who need it and to ensure our social security system treats people with respect and dignity.
“I have laid out my plans for the benefits that will be introduced this year and for the future delivery of devolved benefits. Responsibility for all devolved benefits, including their funding, will be with the Scottish Government from 1 April next year, with the roll out of disability assistance starting shortly after.
“It is through disability assistance we can make the biggest difference to the largest number of people, particularly through reform of an assessments system that causes stress and anxiety. And at all times involving people in how we do that, designing a system with people and for people.”