In this submission to the Scottish Government’s Social Security Consultation, Common Weal proposes a Child Benefit top-up (made tax deductible), Citizens Pension and a means by which benefit sanctions can be scrapped entirely.Credits—
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In a Common Weal1 report in February, social policy expert professor Paul Spicker outlined the limitations as well as the opportunities in social security policy for the Scottish Government with the passing of the Scotland Bill 2016.
In this submission, we distil two of the key proposals in that report which we believe could make a substantial difference to tackling child and pensioner poverty now. Both proposals are universalist in principle, in the sense that they are based on the idea that social security policy is delivered best when it is provided to everyone.
Finally, we propose two options the Scottish Government could pursue to stop benefit sanctions in Scotland entirely.
― Scotland should top up Child Benefit by a minimum of 25% and the increase should be made tax deductible.
― Scotland should introduce a Universal Citizens’ Pension – an effective top up of Pension Credit which is means tested and underclaimed.
― There is a reasonable case to be made that sanctions applied by the DWP are illegal. Common Weal welcomes indications that the Scottish Government will not assist the UK Government with their application.
― It should, however, go further and investigate measures to prohibit or mitigate sanctions up to and including inviting the DWP to challenge a prohibition in the courts.