The Social Security (Up-rating) (Miscellaneous Amendment) (Scotland) 2024 Regulations: scrutiny report

The Scottish Commission on Social Security's scrutiny report on the Social Security (Up-rating) (Miscellaneous Amendment) (Scotland) 2024 Regulations

Annex B: Overview – powers and constraints

Areas where Scottish Government has powers to exercise discretion include:

  • What index/ indices to use as the measure of inflation
  • Not to up-rate any social security payment unless “in their opinion” it is “materially below its inflation-adjusted figure” (section 86(1)). In our 2019 report we asked the Scottish Government how it would define ‘materially below’, at which point we were told that policy was still under development
  • Whether ‘up-rating’ is taken to mean solely maintaining the value of social security payments or whether it can also mean increasing their value
  • What circumstances would justify increasing the value of payments beyond inflation as part of the up-rating exercise
  • Whether to up-rate from April or earlier in the year

Constraints on the exercise of discretion include:

  • Whether the social security payment is devolved from a benefit which is subject to an agency agreement with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) who continue to administer it for the time being
  • The need to find funds from elsewhere, where funding for additional action is not included in the UK Government block grant
  • Which measures of inflation have the status of national statistics
  • DWP policy changes
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