Green proposals will be at the core of Scotland's social security system

Scottish Greens social security spokesperson Alison Johnstone today (26 Sep) welcomed a new approach to assessments for disability benefits under Scotland's devolved social security system.

Earlier this year, Alison successfully amended the Social Security Bill to do away with assessments of people’s health or disability in order to claim for a devolved benefit, unless the information cannot be obtained through any other means.

Today the new Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville confirmed that this principle will be at the core of the new system.

She also confirmed that people will be able to choose the time and place of their assessment, and that audio recordings will be used as standard. Greens have led calls in Parliament for those measures.

Alison Johnstone, social security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Lothian, said:

“Benefits assessments under the UK Tory Government are often cruel, humiliating and entirely unnecessary, so it's vital we take a different approach with new devolved responsibilities. My amendment to the Social Security Bill means that thousands of people will be saved from being put through these checks but where these are deemed absolutely necessary it's essential that they are carried out in a respectful and transparent manner. The Government has re-affirmed its commitment to that vision today, and I welcome the Cabinet Secretary’s commitment that the assessments will be 'markedly' reduced, in line with the Green approach.

"The Government, however, will need to be forthcoming with exactly how it intends to implement this and, in particular, how it will define a ‘necessary’ assessment.”

Alison continued:

"The commitments to giving people greater control over time and place, and use of audio recordings, are very welcome and will go some way to rebuilding trust in a social security system that has been undermined by a callous UK Government."