Date lodged: 10 January 2018
To ask the Scottish Government whether it has discussed the use of automatic split payments for universal credit with the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.
Answered by: Jeane Freeman 25 January 2018
The United Kingdom, as the member state, is required to submit periodic reports to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women every 4 years. These reports detail the legislative and other measures which have been taken by the member state to implement the Convention. The Scottish Government routinely contributes to these reports.
As part of the Scottish Government’s contribution to the latest (8th) UK periodic report published on 16 November 2017, we set out our concern that paying Universal Credit to households rather than individuals may perpetuate asymmetrical power relations between couples, and put women at greater risk of financial abuse, particularly disabled women.
The Scottish Government will use its new powers over social security to promote women’s economic equality and is currently considering the implications of different policy options for splitting payment of the Universal Credit award between members of a household in Scotland, including the use of automatic split payments.
Separately, the Scottish Government will shortly publish its Position Statement on CEDAW. This report, while not eligible for formal consideration by the UN Committee, gives an opportunity for the Scottish Government to set out more fully how it is working to deliver the enshrined CEDAW Articles covering all aspects of women's and girls' lives. In it the Scottish Government will include further detail on its position on UC split payments.