Delivering a new benefit on the scale of the Scottish Child Payment inevitably comes with challenges. Further work will be undertaken over the summer to determine more detailed implications and considerations for delivery.
As with all our benefits, we will work in close partnership with the UK Government – especially the DWP, Treasury and HMRC – who will need to confirm, as per the Fiscal Framework, for example, that the payment will not be off-set by reductions elsewhere in the UK benefit system, that it will not be considered income for tax purposes and the benefit cap will be adjusted appropriately to accommodate the additional payment.
There is also a financial challenge for the Scottish Government. Clearly the Scottish Child Payment is a significant investment in our lowest income families, and that will have an impact on the Scottish Government's budget. The Scottish Government set out in our Medium Term Financial Strategy a commitment to a Spending Review. In committing to this new benefit, we will have to consider other spending priorities to ensure a balanced budget position. We will ensure the Scottish Parliament has the opportunity to scrutinise these spending commitments and priorities in the course of the Spending Review.
Finally, we will make progress on the legislative basis for the Scottish Child Payment. In recognition of the urgency to introduce the Scottish Child Payment, we will do so through secondary legislation, using our powers to top up reserved benefits. We will introduce regulations by the end of 2019 and these will be submitted to the Scottish Commission on Social Security for scrutiny to ensure early delivery of this payment to families with a child under 6 by March 2021.
Social Security Directorate
All enquiries in relation to this paper should be sent to: Hannah Graham
2C-South Victoria Quay Edinburgh