Published on 31 October 2016 12:00 PM
Age Scotland has put forward an wide-ranging submission to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the future for social security in Scotland.
The charity endorses the basic principle that social security should be seen as an investment in the people of Scotland and in strengthening our social fabric. We propose models which should exhibit trust in people and respect for their dignity.
We advocate an end to rules which are probably discriminatory based on age – such as the lack of a mobility component for attendance allowance, unlike other disability benefits – and we support the principle that universal winter fuel payments are the most effective means of reaching those most in need of support.
The submission is extensive, comprising some 56 pages, although the consultation paper was over 140 pages long and posed over 170 questions. It is the most detailed policy submission which the charity or its predecessors have ever compiled.
The submission gives the charity’s perspective on a wide range of specific benefits affecting older people which are being devolved (including disability and carer’s benefits, funeral payments, and winter fuel payments).
It also deals with a series of administrative matters on how eligibility should be worked out, how benefits should be paid, and the overarching principles and intended outcomes which should be a focus for the new system.
Another important aspect is ensuring that the new devolved system works well with the other benefits which will remain reserved to the UK Parliament and Government, and administered by the DWP, JobCentres and the Pension Service. Clearly it is important for there to be no disruption to payments on which vulnerable people depend, either as the responsibility is transferred or as changes the Scottish Government intends to make are implemented.
The response was informed by the views and experiences of older people themselves, which we gathered at eight distinct consultation events around the country, and also the expertise of our policy staff and helpline advisors, who regularly support older people with benefits concerns and queries. We aim to use this invaluable information in our further discussions with Government Ministers and officials as the policies take shape and legislation is prepared to give effect to them.
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