Scottish Government to invest £125m to combat UK austerity
Scottish ministers are on course to invest over £125 million in 2018-19 to mitigate the worst impact of UK Government welfare reforms and to protect those on low incomes, social security secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has revealed.
The announcement follows new figures which found that, as at the middle of December, the new Social Security Scotland agency had spent £34m making over 150,000 payments of Carers Allowance Supplement and Best Start Grants, with applications for the latter only opening on December 10.
Ms Somerville said: “I am proud that in the first three months of its operations Social Security Scotland has been able to provide significant extra help to carers and low income families with children.
“However these figures starkly illustrate the significant challenge we face in providing support to those who need it while not having all the powers that would allow us to make a greater difference.
“We are investing over £125m this financial year on measures that mitigate the very worst impact of UK Government welfare cuts and protect those on low incomes - investments such as £63m on Discretionary Housing Payments which includes around £51m to mitigate the bedroom tax in full, £38m for the Scottish Welfare Fund, and £1.8m to launch our new financial health check service which will be backed by a further £1.5m next year.
“As we enter the New Year and Social Security Scotland delivers more benefits and helps more people, we will see even more clearly the difference between the UK Government approach to social security and a distinctive Scottish service based upon the principles of fairness, dignity and respect.”
UK Government welfare cuts since 2010 are expected to reduce welfare spending in Scotland by around £3.7 billion in 2020/21.