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Social Security Benefits: Scotland

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 45386, tabled on 11 May 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress has been made on devolving social security benefits to the Scottish Government; and what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the progress of that devolution.

Answered on

18 May 2020

The Scottish Government has replaced Sure Start Maternity Grants and Funeral Expenses Payments with Scottish provision. It has also introduced a Supplement to Carer’s Allowance, and the Young Carer Grant which are completely new in Scotland. In addition, its contracted employment programme, Fair Start Scotland, has been in place since April 2018 and followed a year of transitional services, Work First Scotland and Work Able Scotland, in 2017. These measures have been introduced with the support of the UK Government, and the two Governments continue to work closely together on further new benefits such as the Scottish Child Payment and Winter Heating Assistance for the parents of disabled children, which have interdependencies with the reserved social security system.

On 1 April 2020, executive competence for extra-needs disability benefits and for industrial injuries provision transferred to the Scottish Government. The Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People made a statement to the Scottish Parliament on the same day, announcing that, due to the impact of coronavirus pandemic on capacity in the health and social care sectors in particular, the Scottish Government had decided to delay the introduction of replacement benefits for Attendance Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and Personal Independence Payment. We continue to work closely with the Scottish Government on its revised timescales for replacing these benefits, and on its plans for the replacement of Cold Weather Payments and Winter Fuel Payments. The Scottish Government has asked DWP to maintain the existing caseload of claims to Severe Disablement Allowance on its behalf, and an Agency Agreement is in place for this which will be reviewed after five years.

Until the new Scottish benefits are introduced, DWP has agreed to continue to provide the existing benefits to people in Scotland under Agency Agreements on behalf of the Scottish Government, in the same way as they are provided to people in England and Wales. Both Governments’ priority remains the safe and secure transfer to the new Scottish benefits.