We must use new powers to help people access the benefits they're entitled to

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."