Since the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 came into force, the Scottish Government has been building a new social security system where assistance is a human right and where people are treated with dignity, fairness and respect. During the current cost of living crisis we will continue to take action where we can to help low income households, carers and disabled people, using our limited devolved powers and constrained resources.
We have already delivered 12 benefits, including more generous replacements for UK benefits and seven completely brand new forms of support, from our Carers Allowance Supplement to the 'game-changing' Scottish Child Payment.
Following the successful launch of Child Disability Payment, the implementation of Adult Disability Payment is well underway. Meanwhile, we are in the process of transferring Scottish cases of Disability Living Allowance for Children to Child Disability Payment, and we have initiated the case transfer process to Adult Disability Payment.
This has involved a huge amount of work, which has all been achieved by Scottish Government and Social Security Scotland staff, and some DWP staff, despite the difficulties created by coronavirus (COVID-19) over the past two years. I am grateful for the commitment shown by the many people involved in successfully delivering this new public service, which is crucial to the Scottish Government's wider plans to tackle poverty and make Scotland a fairer place for all. I am particularly grateful to all those who have contributed to our Experience Panels and to our various stakeholders and independent advisors.
I have been pleased to see from our client surveys that Social Security Scotland is making a positive difference, which is being felt by those using our services. Ninety-three per cent of people responding to our client surveys rated their experience of Social Security Scotland 'good' or 'very good'.
But we know that there is much more work to be done. The principles which underpin the Scottish system of social security are set out in the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018, and it is with those principles in mind that I am pleased to launch this consultation.
The principles, endorsed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament, include that opportunities are to be sought to continuously improve the Scottish social security system in ways which put the needs of those who require assistance first, and that the system is to be efficient and deliver value for money.
In addition, Social Security Scotland's Charter, co-designed with people with lived experience of the social security system in Scotland, translates these principles into more concrete actions. The Charter commitments include undertaking to listen, learn and improve, to embed the social security principles and Charter in the policymaking process, and to allocate our resources fairly and efficiently.
It is important that we continuously seek to live up to those commitments by making changes which better reflect our aspirations as our experience grows. By contributing to this consultation, I would therefore encourage you to contribute to the discussion on improving our social security system, in which everyone in Scotland has a stake, and thank you in advance for taking the time to do so.
BEN MACPHERSON MSP
Minister for Social Security and Local Government
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