Summary of recommendations
Recommendation 1: The Scottish Government is asked to clarify its strategic policy approach to uprating assistance, by explaining where, when, why and how flexibility in decision making is desirable and could be used.
Recommendation 2: The Scottish Government is asked to clarify its strategic approach to uprating assistance, distinguishing between the maintenance of value and the increase of value.
Recommendation 3: The Scottish Government is asked to clarify what might constitute an ‘exceptional circumstance’ that would justify benefits being increased beyond the September rate of CPI.
Recommendation 4: Unless circumstances outwith the control of the Scottish Government preclude it, where there is a policy intent to uprate in a non-routine way, enough time should be factored in for stakeholder engagement.
Recommendation 5: To improve transparency, the Scottish Government is asked to consider whether section 77 reports or information provided to accompany uprating regulations could usefully say more on the economic impact on different groups and the overall costs of uprating decisions.
Recommendation 6: The Scottish Government should prepare equality impact assessments concerning the overall impact of future uprating decisions on equality, where there is a policy intent to uprate in a non-routine way.
Recommendation 7: The Scottish Government should review whether other information could usefully be provided in future section 77 reports in order to improve transparency.
Recommendation 8: Acknowledging there may be good reasons that preclude uprating SCP for 2021-22, the Scottish Government is asked to clarify the basis for deciding not to uprate it and any implications for its strategic approach in comparable situations.