Scots welfare system to embrace dignity and respect

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​New welfare powers must put the needs of people first says committee 

14th December 2015 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Dignity and respect must be at the heart of a new a Scottish welfare system, MSPs have said.

Holyrood’s welfare reform committee found the current system was in need of dramatic overhaul and was overly punitive and bureaucratic.  

It has published a report bringing together three years of work on welfare which the committee has been investigating.

MSPs are anticipating new welfare powers as part of the Scotland bill and said a number of changes must be made to the current welfare system to make reform easier on Scots.

These include scrapping the bedroom tax and for housing benefit to be paid directly to landlords.

New universal credit payments will mean claimants will get all their benefits in one lump sum, leading to fears many could spend their housing benefit payments  

Hugh Henry, committee convener, said: “For three years, our committee has heard evidence of the devastating impact of welfare reform, from the ever-growing reliance on foodbanks to working parents having to choose between heating their homes and feeding their children.

Creating a better social security system will probably be one of the biggest tasks facing Scotland

“Creating a better social security system for Scotland will probably be one of the biggest tasks facing Scotland over the next decade and it’s important that we get it right. This is not about party politics but people.”

MSPs on the committee also called for the introduction of long-term Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment awards for those with severe, long-term disability or illness.

An increase in Carer’s Allowance to at least the amount paid in Jobseekers Allowance.

The report stated: “We believe that a brand-new philosophy and set of principles is necessary in order to underpin the new Scottish social security system and make it more successful.

“Most importantly, a new Scottish social security system should be based upon preserving the dignity of, and showing respect for, claimants.”