MSPs expected to pass social security bill at Holyrood

25 April 2018, 07:18

scottish parliament

Legislation to establish Scotland's new social security system is expected to be passed at Holyrood later.

The Scottish Government's Social Security Bill is expected to be approved in a vote following its final parliamentary stage.

The Bill will give the Scottish Government the power to deliver 11 devolved benefits through a new Scottish social security agency, including disability living allowance, the winter fuel payment and the carer's allowance.

Ministers have made concessions in recent days in response to appeals from politicians and campaigners, including a decision to rely on clinical judgment rather than a time limit when defining a terminal illness for Scotland's social security system.

The Scottish Government has also backed an amendment from Green MSP Alison Johnstone to ensure that disabled people do not have to go through "unnecessary" medical assessments to claim benefits.

Opposition parties, while generally supportive of the legislation, have said they will make further last ditch efforts to amend the Bill.

Labour is to renew calls for Universal Credit payments to be automatically split between partners to help women experiencing domestic abuse and for a £5-a-week increase to child benefit.

The party's social security spokesman Mark Griffin said: "With food bank use in Scotland at record levels it is time to increase child benefit to help families with the cost of living.

"Our amendment would deliver a £5 per week increase to child benefit, lifting tens of thousands of children out of poverty.

"And we believe that Universal Credit should be automatically split between the two partners in a relationship.

"This will help women facing domestic abuse and ensure money for children goes to the main carer."