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Monday, March 4, 2024

Autumn Statement Benefit Changes Deeply Concerning

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Social Justice Secretary writes to DWP on work capability announcements.

Changes to work capability assessments announced in the Autumn Statement are ‘deeply concerning’ and could mean people receive less support based on a change of criteria rather than a change in their health, Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has said.

Writing to DWP Secretary Mel Stride, Ms Somerville highlighted how the Scottish Government has taken a different approach with its social security system being based on treating people with fairness, dignity and respect.

Ms Somerville said:

“I remain deeply concerned about the changes to the activities and descriptors for ‘getting about’ for Limited Capability for Work, and the mobilising and substantial risk criteria for limited capability for work-related activity.

“The changes you are proposing, including the extension of the sanctions regime, will have very significant additional impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our communities who need our support most.

“In Scotland, we have taken a different approach to devolved employability support; our services remain voluntary, and we want the support we provide to be seen as an opportunity, not a threat, with fairness, dignity and respect at its heart.

“In delivering our first devolved employability service, Fair Start Scotland, Scottish Government officials had a close working relationship with Job Centre Plus to ensure we were collectively working to provide support for the people of Scotland.”

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