MSP Briefing - Update on Delivery of Social Security Benefits

Post date: 
26 May 2022
Written by: 

Ed Pybus

Policy and Parliamentary Officer

We prepared a briefing for MSPs ahead of the debate in the Scottish Parliament. 

Key Points

  • The introduction of the Scottish Child Payment and subsequent increases to its value are a hugely welcome use of Scottish social security powers to directly tackle child poverty. The payment is already making a real difference to families and will shift the trajectory on child poverty. The value and reach of the payment must now be kept under close review to ensure it is sufficient to help meet the statutory child poverty targets in 2024 and 2030. Further increases to the value of the payment will be needed.
  • It is vital that the value of Scottish child payment bridging payments are doubled in line with the April doubling of the Scottish child payment. In the context of the cost of living crisis this would be a straightforward way to get additional cash support to more of the lowest income families in Scotland.
  • To successfully mitigate the benefit cap in line with policy intent the Scottish government must publish Scottish specific discretionary housing payment guidance for local authorities as matter of priority.
  • The Scottish Government now needs to also consider how the two-child limit could be mitigated in Scotland. This could lift between 15,000 – 20,000 children out of poverty
  • It is vital that social security primary legislation, regulation and guidance is developed in such a way that rights to social security are protected and enhanced
  • To help maximise benefit take up practical solutions to both the legal and technical barriers to data sharing between delivery agencies must now be found to ensure families get all the support they need
  • Analysis for CPAG shows that Scottish policies will reduce the cost of a child in Scotland by up to 31% (£24,000) for lower income families in comparison with elsewhere in the UK[1].  Despite this a family with two children in Scotland getting means-tested benefits still falls 30% short of meeting their needs, and thousands of children still live in households where they are unable to afford the basic essentials. There is more to be done.