Social security campaign relaunched

Benefits

A campaign to fight for the right to social security in Scotland has been relaunched amid rising levels of poverty

9th October 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A major campaign to ensure social security protects people in Scotland from poverty has been relaunched this week under a new name which places the right to social security at its heart.

The re-branded Scottish Campaign on Rights to Social Security (SCORSS) ‐ made up of leading anti-poverty organisations, academics and service providers ‐ wants to see the social security system do more to prevent poverty.

Originally set up in 2006 as the Scottish Campaign on Welfare Reform, SCORSS’s renewed purpose will include campaigning to ensure new Social Security Scotland payments live up to the principles that social security is an investment in people, and that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.  

The campaign will also redouble efforts to reverse the impact of UK welfare reforms and restore the value of UK benefits.

Cuts to UK social security benefits are plunging people and communities into poverty and reinforcing inequality.

Members of SCORSS believe that placing rights at the forefront of the campaign’s name better reflects that social security is a human right protected by a range of international human rights laws and standards.

The re-launch comes as more than one million people in Scotland - one in five - live in poverty, a figure that is rising.

Last week, a new report by the A Menu for Change project also revealed that inadequate and insecure incomes from wages and social security were making people food insecure with 7% of people in the most financial deprived communities reporting having run out of food.

 The Scottish Campaign on Rights to Social Security’s principles include:

●        Increasing social security payments to a level where no one is left in poverty and all have sufficient income to lead a decent life, including additional help for people with disabilities or those who live with a long-term condition.

●        Making respect for human rights and dignity the cornerstone of UK and Scottish social security, including scrapping the so-called ‘rape clause’ and reforming punishing capability assessments.

●        Radically simplifying social security to ensure it is easy to access and barriers to access are removed including ensuring entitlement is based on equality of access and entitlement, promoting non-means tested support to tackle stigma and making access easier.

●        Reinstating and restoring the value of child benefit.

●        Ensuring a state pension is sufficient to enable all pensioners to live in dignity.

●        Ending age discrimination by extending entitlements to adequate disability entitlements to older people.

●        Ending punitive conditionality and sanctions which is ineffective, complex, costly and stigmatising.

●        Making childcare available to those in paid work, further education and training, as well as carers and volunteers.

John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland and a member of SCORSS, said: “Our campaign will benefit everyone in Scotland, not just those on low incomes, as research clearly demonstrates that a more equal society is one where everyone is happier and healthier and communities flourish. It is an investment in people.

 “Together we can realise a rights-based social security system in both Scotland and the UK that prevents and reduces poverty, treats people with dignity and respects and supports everyone to flourish.”