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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Social Security in an Independent Scotland

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People in receipt of benefits would be better protected and treated with more dignity and respect in an independent Scotland, Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville will tell MSPs today.

Ministers would be able to build on the progress the Scottish Government has already made in creating a fairer system with limited powers, Ms Somerville will say in a debate on recently published proposals for Social Security in an Independent Scotland.

She will also renew calls for the UK Government to introduce an ‘essentials guarantee’ to ensure that social security benefits are always enough to cover the cost of basic vital items such as food and heating.

Ms Somerville is expected to say:

“Our early priorities would be removing policies like the two-child limit, the rape clause and the benefit cap.

“We plan to replace the Universal Credit advanced loans with grants, we could end the punitive sanctions regime and we could remove the young parent penalty.

“We also propose to roll back planned changes to reserved sickness and disability benefits and to do more to help unpaid carers.

“These are early changes we would prioritise among others, to directly improve the lives of people in receipt of benefits and make the right steps towards an essentials guarantee.

“The best performing independent countries of Scotland’s size show that a strong social safety net can be the foundation of a dynamic, innovative and productive economy.

“I have no doubt that over time, Scotland can match the performance of other independent European countries that have low levels of poverty and inequality and high levels of economic success.

“With independence Scotland has potential to deliver transformational change building on our success to date, bringing a fairer, more equal society and ensuring everyone has enough money to live a decent, dignified, healthy life.”

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