Social Security (Scotland) Act (2018): Devolved Social Security Assistance, Uprating for Inflation - A report in fulfilment of section 86A: Duty to consider effects of inflation

A report on the impact of inflation on devolved social security assistance as required under section 86A of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018.


This is a difficult time for many. The cost of living crisis is having a massive impact on people throughout Scotland, and inflation has reached levels not seen in more than forty years in the United Kingdom. This report, as in previous years, sets out the impact of inflation on Scottish social security payments, and our policy position on uprating for the financial year 2023-24. It includes all forms of assistance that Scottish Ministers have a responsibility to uprate in 2023-24 and what we intend to do for assistance where there is no requirement to uprate.

Social Security Scotland is now delivering twelve benefits, seven of which are completely new forms of financial support only available in Scotland. Our system is based on dignity, fairness and respect, and I am particularly proud of the Scottish Child Payment, which we introduced as part of national mission to tackle child poverty. In November 2022, eligibility was extended to children aged under 16 and clients receiving Scottish Child Payment will now receive £25 per week per eligible child. According to the Scottish Fiscal Commission forecast on 15 December 2022, the number of children receiving Scottish Child Payment will have risen to more than 300,000.

In addition, in this past year, we launched the pilot for Adult Disability Payment in March, and following a successful pilot it is now open for applications across the country. We designed this benefit working closely with people with lived experience of disability benefits, and have created a simplified and compassionate system as a result.

We will also soon launch our new Winter Heating Payment to provide targeted, reliable financial support to those most in need of help with their energy costs every winter. This will help around 400,000 people on low incomes with their heating expenses each and every winter, guaranteed at £50 and breaking the link with weather dependency.

This report sets out the inflation adjusted figures for each form of assistance based on the rate of the Consumer Prices Index in the 12 months to September 2022, and the rates that will be paid in 2023-2024 for each form of social security assistance. There is a duty set out in the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 and our Social Security Charter to uprate by inflation; carer’s, disability, employment-injury, funeral expense assistance and the Scottish Child Payment. We will bring forward legislation in early 2023 to deliver that. We brought forward the uprating of the Scottish Child Payment by four months, with its increase to £25 in November. All other devolved benefits, those where uprating is at Ministers’ discretion, will also be uprated.

The Scottish Government understands the enormous impact the cost of living crisis is having on people right across Scotland and our decision to increase benefit rates, as set out in this report, recognises the crucial role social security assistance plays in supporting people in financial need. These increases contribute to our efforts to tackle child poverty and are part of our continuing aim to build a social security system that ensures people are treated with dignity, fairness and respect.

Ben Macpherson, Minister for Social Security and Local Government



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