A fairer benefits system for Scotland

Welfare-jobseeker2-web

An group of experts has recommended Scotland create its own welfare system regardless of the outcome of September's independence referendum

5th June 2014 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

An independent welfare system in Scotland should be more personal, simpler and fairer, according to a new report. 

An expert working group set up to consider options for a new welfare system in an independent Scotland recommends increasing the minimum wage by £1 an hour, abolishing the bedroom tax, scrapping work capability assessments and increasing carer’s allowance to the same rate as Jobseeker’s Allowance. 

The group worked independently of government and included a range of views from business, academia and the third sector. It concluded that a future welfare system should be based on principles of fairness, personalisation and simplicity. 

John Downie, SCVO

John Downie, SCVO

Citizens Advice Scotland urged both the Scottish and UK governments to carefully consider the recommendations, Poverty Alliance Scotland said it was encouraged by measures to address in-work poverty. 

Housing body the Scottish Federation for Housing Associations said it supported the idea of a new social security allowance which would amalgamate certain benefits but would not include housing benefit. 

However John Downie, director of public affairs at the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), said while it was encouraging to see the group aspiring towards a more compassionate approach to welfare the recommendations don’t go far enough.

“We want the system to be much more than a basic, increasingly unreliable, safety net. Sadly though, these recommendations aren’t radical enough to make that a reality,” he said.