New arrangements to support people who receive benefits and the long term employed come into effect today (Saturday, April 1).
The devolution of powers through the Scotland Act 2016 now has employability services delivered by the Scottish Government with 12 month transitional arrangements set to launch on Monday.
Within social security the Scottish Government now has control over Discretionary Housing Payments – the benefit used to mitigate the Bedroom Tax. Since 2014 the Scottish Government has been topping up DHPs and it will now take over full funding to support people who are the worst affected by UK Government welfare cuts.
Jamie Hepburn, employability minister, said: “Our new employability services offer us a real opportunity to make the support fairer, simpler and more tailored which will transform the lives of thousands of people across Scotland.
“We will take a distinctly Scottish approach by enabling people to participate on a voluntary basis and without the threat of sanctions. The transitional arrangements come ahead of a full programme of support from 2018.”
Jeane Freeman, social security minister, said: “We have taken action to make sure DHPs are available to all households affected by the Bedroom Tax so no one has to pay it, and have committed to abolishing it as soon as practically possible.
“We have also increased the funding available in the first year we have had responsibility for DHPs to nearly £58 million, as we want to protect low income families and households from the worst effects of the UK Government’s welfare cuts.
“When all of the powers over social security are devolved the Scottish Government will have control of 15 per cent of social security spend in Scotland. The transfer of these powers is not be a simple inheritance, we are working in partnership with the people of Scotland to deliver social security in a different way – one that is rights based, fairer and respectful.”