Wed 22 Feb, 2017

We must use the opportunity of these new powers to help people access the benefits they're entitled to. Alison Johnstone MSP

Alison Johnstone MSP, Social Security spokesperson, today (22 Feb) welcomed comments by the Social Security minister that she is considering an automatic approach for applicants to the new Scottish system.

In their submission to the Scottish Government's consultation on using new social security powers, the Scottish Greens proposed that when someone applies for a benefit, they should be considered for all Scottish social security payments and services. This would ensure vulnerable people receive what they are entitled to, tackling poverty and poor health.

Alison Johnstone, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Lothian, said:

"From the very start of this process, Scottish Greens have said that the social security system should be founded on the basis of the individual applicant's right to social security and to fair treatment. Years of UK welfare reform have deliberately sought to undermine and deny people's right to the benefits that allow them to live fulfilling and productive lives. These themes featured strongly in the Minister's statement today, which I very much welcome.

"The current social security system is excessively complicated. Billions of pounds of benefits go unclaimed every year and there's insufficient help for those who need assistance to apply. The insistence on online application is a barrier for many people.

"I welcome the response from the minister that she is considering an automatic approach, so that applicants are considered for everything they might be eligible for once they approach the system. We must use the opportunity of these new powers to help people access the benefits they're entitled to."

Get involved

More like this

One fifth of children in Scotland in poverty; action needed says Johnstone

Tue 28 Nov, 2017

New figures showing one fifth of children in Scotland live in families that are in poverty and cannot afford basic necessities underline the need for action, according to Alison Johnstone MSP, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens.

The statistics indicate that 20 per cent of children in Scotland live in material deprivation, so cannot afford basics such as being able to repair or replace a broken kettle.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

Johnstone amends Child Poverty Bill to ensure Scot Gov considers benefit top-up

Wed 8 Nov, 2017

Alison Johnstone MSP, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (8 Nov) welcomed Parliament's support for her amendment to the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill, which means the Scottish Government will be required to say in each of the Bill's Delivery Plans if it intends to use new top-up powers to increase the value of Child Benefit.
 
Alison said:
 

Johnstone welcomes confirmation that benefit sanctions won’t apply to devolved employment schemes

Wed 4 Oct, 2017

Alison Johnstone MSP, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (4 Oct) welcomed confirmation from Scottish Ministers that benefit sanctions won’t apply to devolved employment schemes for people with health conditions and disabilities.

Last year Alison led a campaign to persuade ministers to rule out the use of sanctions, as these are shown to trap people in low-wage work with a negative impact on their health.