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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-21290: Mark Griffin (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 29 January 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the statements by the Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People to the Social Security Committee on 17 January 2019 (Official Report, c. 23), where it received the advice that "It is simply not the case that a top-up to child benefit, which would require intricate working with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, could be done simply and quickly."

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 21 February 2019

It is clear that making any alterations to a reserved benefit is a significant and complex task. It would require the agreement of UK Ministers and the cooperation of the relevant UK Government department to include any change to their work programme and ensure that any potential negative impacts of those payments on recipients - for example through breaching the benefit cap - were mitigated by making the necessary legislative and IT infrastructure changes.

Our experience of introducing Universal Credit Scottish Choices and working with the DWP on devolved benefits has shown the complexities that are involved when working with two social security systems. Such complexities would be increased if we sought to top-up a reserved benefit.

It is for these reasons that we are undertaking detailed options appraisal so we can examine the interrelated strategic questions of policy and delivery and assess the risks and opportunities.