The ALLIANCE has responded to a Scottish Government call for views on social security in Scotland highlighting the importance of clear, accessible and supportive social security to the independence of people who live with long term conditions.
The three month consultation closes on Sunday and calls for views on how the devolution of social security powers, through the Scotland Act 2016, should be taken forward. The Scottish Government has previously agreed to produce draft legislation to be presented to the Scottish Parliament by the end of this Parliamentary session (summer 2017).
The response, closely informed by two surveys of ALLIANCE members, an event attended by the Minister for Social Security, Jeane Freeman MSP, and the experiences of over 900 people through the Welfare Advocacy Support Project, welcomes proposals for a single Social Security Agency in Scotland and the potential that has for creating a less complex system.
ALLIANCE is also reassured by the emphasis placed on the need for co-production of any new social security system with people who use social security in Scotland, but call for greater consideration of how this can be done in a meaningful and active way with significant investment in supporting people to have their say.
The ALLIANCE has also called for:
- The creation of an “assessor’s charter” to ensure processes to determine eligibility are open, accessible and transparent.
- That a timetable to consider long term success, or otherwise, of the social security agency be established.
- Independent advocacy support to be readily available for anyone who requires it.
- Greater signposting from the new agency to local, accessible, independent advice and advocacy.
- Newly devolved payments to be uprated in line with the Retail Price Index (the inflationary measure with constitutes the most accurate measure of the real cost of living).