Jeremy Balfour S6M-12079.2 As an amendment to motion S6M-12079 in the name of Shirley-Anne Somerville (Delivering Record Social Security Investment in Scotland to Tackle the Cost of Living Crisis and Inequality), leave out from "; welcomes" to end and insert ", but notes with extreme concern that the Scottish Fiscal Commission reports that, by 2027-28, the Scottish Government will need to find an additional £1.3 billion in spending from within the Scottish Budget for these demand-led payments; understands that the Social Security Scotland agency is set to cost taxpayers in Scotland £322 million in operational costs in 2024-25, which is 130% higher than spending in 2020-21; acknowledges that these benefits were first promised to be fully devolved to Scottish control by 2020, but that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has recently had to agree to extend the agency agreements to continue to assist and support the Scottish Government until 2026 as Social Security Scotland is, to date, unable to handle the full caseload; notes that these devolved benefits have not been significantly changed from the DWP criteria and that the promised review of adult disability payments may not be published until August 2025; acknowledges the disappointment from the third sector that the dedicated Minister for Equalities and Older People post was removed in March 2023, and backs the calls from Age Scotland and 15 partner agencies for this to be reinstated to ensure a targeted focus on tackling inequality, and welcomes the announcement by the UK Government that the third instalment of its Cost of Living Payment will be paid later in February 2024, benefitting more than 680,000 people across Scotland and totalling up to £900 paid to eligible households on means-tested benefits, and directly helping tackle the cost of living crisis and inequality equally across the UK." Paul O'Kane S6M-12079.1 As an amendment to motion S6M-12079 in the name of Shirley-Anne Somerville (Delivering Record Social Security Investment in Scotland to Tackle the Cost of Living Crisis and Inequality), leave out from "Government's" to end and insert "Child Payment; notes the stubbornly high waiting times for Child Disability Payment, where the median processing time was 106 days, and for Adult Disability Payment, where the median processing time was 83 days, according to the latest statistical releases; is concerned by the Scottish Government’s failure to sufficiently and swiftly address these long processing times, which are driving some people to rely on foodbanks, according to reports from third sector organisations; is further concerned by the rise of in-work poverty in Scotland, with over one in 10 workers locked in persistent low pay according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and agrees that a UK Labour administration will implement a New Deal for Working People that will end in-work poverty and implement a fundamental reform of the Universal Credit system to provide a real safety net for those who need it." Shirley-Anne Somerville S6M-12079 That the Parliament believes that social security plays a vital role in tackling poverty and reducing economic and social inequalities, and that the Scottish social security system must have dignity, fairness and respect at its heart; welcomes the Scottish Government’s record investment of £6.3 billion in social security expenditure in 2024-25 and that the Scottish Fiscal Commission has forecast that this is an investment of £1.1 billion more than the funding received from the UK Government through the social security block grant; notes that this investment includes the Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods, as well as the landmark, and extended, Scottish Child Payment, which is estimated to lift 50,000 children out of relative poverty in 2024; recognises that £614 million of Scotland-only benefits are being delivered in 2024-25, which is support that is unparalleled across the UK; further recognises the substantial difference that Social Security Scotland is making through improved disability and carers benefits; notes that Scottish Government support is being delivered despite continued UK Government block grant cuts and continued UK Government austerity, and calls on the UK Government to drop planned Work Capability Assessment changes, introduce an essentials guarantee and immediately scrap the two-child cap and the associated so-called rape clause.
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