Thursday, 2 February 2012

Welfare challenge for for Scottish local and national government

A FAIR and efficiently functioning social security system is essential to eradicating child poverty in Scotland, says commentator John Dickie, writing in the Edinburgh Journal on 1 February 2012.

He scontinues: It is now vital that the Scottish Parliament ensures that new responsibilities being devolved to Scotland for replacing important parts of the welfare system - such as council tax benefit, community care grants and crisis loans - are used to support families more effectively in the face of wider UK cuts.

Ministers need to think about what schemes to put in place to better meet the needs of families, particularly given the overall damage to family incomes that will result from the Bill. Changes to UK welfare policy also create opportunities for local and national government in Scotland to ensure devolved benefits such as free school meals, the energy assistance package and healthy start vouchers are designed in such a way as to reach more children in poverty. Finally the need for government in Scotland to fund and support advice services to help ensure people get the financial supports they are still entitled to is now greater then ever.

In these and other areas, the Poverty Truth Commission has argued and advocated, it is vital that government and other actors and stakeholders at all levels orientate their actions around the experience and expertise of those living at the cutting edge.

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