The Social Security (Up-rating) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2023: scrutiny report

The Scottish Commission on Social Security's scrutiny report on the Social Security (Up-rating) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2023

Summary of recommendations and observations

Recommendation 1: In view of the current and projected high level of inflation and the time taken between the up-rating decision and when an up-rated benefit is received we invite the Scottish Government to set out any actions that might be taken to maintain the value of recipients’ social security payments or otherwise help people manage rising costs between annual up-rating exercises.

Recommendation 2: Given the Scottish Government used its discretion this year to up-rate Scottish Child Payment beyond the rate of the Consumer Prices Index, we invite the Scottish Government to clarify the rationale for the £5 increase.

Recommendation 3: Where a rate of assistance is increased in-year, outwith the usual up-rating process, the Scottish Government should make clear at  that time whether or not that increase represents early up-rating in fulfilment of its duty under section 86B. Where it does, the reasons behind its decision to use its discretion to bring the up-rating forward in that case should be made clear.

Recommendation 4: Provisions for the up-rating of the transitional rate of Adult Disability Payment should be included in the proposed up-rating regulations.

Observation 1: We welcome the Scottish Government’s approach to human rights and equality budgeting within the wider Budget process which we believe resonates with the social security principles. In particular we welcome the recognition that policies should be assessed throughout their development, implementation and execution and look forward to supporting the Scottish Government’s commitment to the three key principles of transparency, participation and accountability.

Observation 2: We welcome the measures the Scottish Government took in 2022 in response to the very high levels of inflation. The Scottish Government may consider that a review of the different responses to high inflation would be timely and helpful in supporting planning for the next and future years. This could include consideration of the net effect of the levels of inflation in the 2022-23 financial year, planned up-rating and the additional cost of living payments.

Observation 3: In view of the levels of inflation of prices for basic necessities such as food and fuel, re-examining the earnings thresholds for devolved social security payments may be an area for the Scottish Government to consider going forward.

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