Fairer welfare system means no private sector in disability assessments


As Scotland's social security bill is published, the social security minister confirms no private contractors will take part in disability benefit assessments 

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21st June 2017 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

The publication of the social security bill is not only another significant step in Scotland’s social security journey, it’s also a historic moment for our country. 

We now have the opportunity to decide on what works for Scotland and what we have published is an approach that works for the people who need it. 

And one of the key things we’ll do differently is remove the private sector from disability benefit assessments. 

Profit should never be a motive nor play any part in assessing or making decisions on people’s health and eligibility for benefits.  

So I can categorically say that private sector health assessments will not exist in our system and when we take control of the benefits being devolved to Scotland. 

I make no apology for saying this again – the right to social security is a human right and dignity and respect are the principles we believe in. That’s why they’re on the very first page of this bill. 

 It’s what we believe is right and what we know is needed to create a fairer and more just society, and is why they are embedded in our approach throughout. 

Of course, we’re taking a careful approach to setting up our new system because it’s a large scale and incredibly complex task and we want to ensure it fits the needs people have and that it works from day one.   

And we must make sure that as the powers transfer, everyone continues to receive the support they are entitled to, at the level and on the day they expect it. 

Central to that work is listening to people and seeking expert opinion to build a social security agency that respects people’s views and is sensitive and responsive to their different needs and requirements. 

Our approach will always be inclusive and considerate, which is in stark contrast to the UK government’s approach as their unjust welfare cuts continue to cause misery, push more people into poverty and attract international criticism. 

We will not lose sight of the fact that investing in our people is investing in the future of our country

We are making choices that benefit people in Scotland, including investing £30 million in a carer’s allowance supplement from summer 2018, and introducing a best start grant which puts more money into the pockets of new parents who need it from summer 2019. 

We will not lose sight of the fact that investing in our people is investing in the future of our country. 

Now, with the publication of the bill, we take our next important step and look forward to working with colleagues across the chamber and reinstating fairness into the social security system. 

Jeane Freeman is Scotland's minister for social security