Independence: Welfare group makes recommendations

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INCREASES in benefits payments and the minimum wage could be part of a “fair, personal and simple” welfare system in an independent Scotland, a new report said.

An expert group set up by the SNP Government to examine the provision of welfare if Scotland left the UK has recommended a phased rise in the minimum amount workers can be paid.

The report said the minimum wage, currently £6.31 an hour, should be brought up to the same level as the living wage, which is £7.65 an hour, if the correct conditions are met.

To help businesses pay for this, the Expert Working Group on Welfare said that employers’ National Insurance should be reduced.

The group has also called for benefits and tax credits to rise every year in line with inflation, rather than the current one per cent a year increase.

Other immediate recommendations include scrapping controversial UK government work capability assessments and replacing these with new assessments carried out by medical professionals.

The current system of sanctions should also be abolished, with a new “more proportionate, personal and positive” scheme set up in its place, the group said.

A new social security allowance (SSA) should be established to bring a number of existing benefits into one payment, although housing benefit would not be included in this.




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