Scottish Government promises to maintain disability benefits

Stewart Stevenson says it is a relief to see that the Scottish Government will be maintaining the benefits now provided by the DWP
Stewart Stevenson says it is a relief to see that the Scottish Government will be maintaining the benefits now provided by the DWP

The Scottish Parliament has promised to maintain the disability benefits currently available from the Department of Welfare and Pensions (DWP).

This move comes after Peter Searle, a DWP senior official, warned MSPs that the roll-out of Universal Credit could result in a “significant number” of people to receive less financial support.

Searle told MSPs that more was being spent on Universal Credit than on the system it replaced, meaning “on average people will gain”.

He added: “Some people, as you say, and a significant number of will receive less than they would have done.”

Now it has emerged that the Scottish Government has plans to ensure a ‘safe and secure transition of the benefits from the DWP.’ With the timetable and delivery schedule to be announced next year.

The assurances of these benefits were confirmed after a question by Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson, regarding the future status of these benefits.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “We are committed to maintaining the level of the disability benefits that are paid to individuals and to raise it annually by at least the rate of inflation. We will also protect disability assistance by ensuring that benefits continue to be non-means tested.

“We are involving people who receive those benefits in the design of our system’s process for disability benefits. I therefore know that they want to ensure that the assessments are undertaken in-house by Social Security Scotland, ensuring that the DWP and private sector agencies will no longer be involved in the assessment process.”

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:“It is a relief to see that the Scottish Government will be maintaining the benefits now provided by the DWP and it is comforting to know that the many disabled people who rely on these benefits need not worry about less financial support in the future.

“Once again the SNP government has proven itself much more conscious of the needs of Scotland’s citizens than the Tory UK Government.”