MSP Raises Questions Over Benefit Change

Today in the Scottish Parliament, Michelle Ballantyne MSP raised an urgent question about the Scottish Government’s decision not to deliver Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA).

Last week, the SNP’s Social Security Secretary gave a statement to the Scottish Parliament where she mentioned delays to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and other updates on the devolution of social security, however, did not mention that the Scottish Government would not be handling the administration of SDA.

Certain aspects of the benefits system have been devolved to Holyrood, with the Scottish Government set to take control of 11 benefits by 2021.

Cabinet Secretary, Shirley-Anne Somerville, has since said that the Scottish Government will not be taking responsibility for all 11 benefits until 2024.

Michelle Ballantyne, the Scottish Conservative spokeswoman for social security, asked the Cabinet Secretary when she decided not to take control of SDA and how much it would cost the taxpayer for the DWP to administer it instead.

Ms. Somerville refused to provide a number.

The Tory welfare spokeswoman has expressed her concerns that the Scottish Government is making “backdoor changes” to social security and has called on the Government to be more transparent about the details about any changes to benefits.

Michelle Ballantyne MSP commented:

“Rather than being forthcoming about developments in the devolution of social security, the SNP Government has chosen to bury the news.

“After already announcing that the devolution of PIP will be delayed, the SNP are clearly trying to avoid any scrutiny.

“Frankly, the Borders deserves better and so does the rest of Scotland.

“The SNP refused to provide any clarity regarding when this decision was made or how much it will cost the taxpayer.

“I will be writing to the Cabinet Secretary regarding this. We can’t have a Government that makes backdoor changes like these.”