The report highlights the government’s “significant achievement” in the scale and pace of delivering the devolved programme of benefit payments in Scotland – among them seven new payments which are unavailable anywhere else in the UK.
It also notes that this work progressed despite challenges due to the pandemic – with the Scottish Government continuing to deliver existing benefits as well as introducing complex new ones including the Scottish Child Payment, Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment.
Also mentioned is the positive feedback people have shared about their experiences of engaging with the new devolved agency, Social Security Scotland.
Audit Scotland recognises the importance of social security in tackling child poverty, in mitigating the cost-of-living crisis and in addressing inequalities. In line with Scottish Fiscal Commission forecasts, the Scottish Government has committed over £3.9bn for benefit expenditure in 2022-23 – providing support to more than one million people. This is more than £360m above the level of funding to be received from the UK Government through Block Grant Adjustments.
Mr Dey said: “This Scottish Government has delivered a range of critical new welfare payments since 2018 – most unique to Scotland, and now benefitting low-income families, carers and disabled people across the country – and has done so through very challenging global circumstances.
“It is welcome that the report by Audit Scotland recognises this for the significant achievement that it is.
“I am proud of the progress made thus far and look forward to the key further developments to come this year, with the expansion and increasing of the Scottish Child Payment, a new stable £50 winter heating payment and the rollout of the Adult Disability Payment – the latter from next month here in Angus.”
Adult Disability Payment, the replacement for the UK Government’s Personal Independence Payment, is being introduced in phases ahead of national roll-out on August 29.