SNP Government '˜need help from UK officials on new welfare powers'

Scottish Government ministers are relying on UK civil servants to help implement the first of a raft of ew benefits that are set to be devolved, it has been reported.

The Scottish Government has set up their new body for welfare powers, Social Security Scotland, in Dundee, but the Times reported that the SNP-administration asked Westminster to retain responsibility for certain payments for at least another two years.

The ‘carer’s allowance’ will be controlled by Whitehall officials, despite the SNP calling for more control over powers and criticising the way that benefits were delivered.

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Scotland's new welfare agency starts payments
Shirley-Anne Somerville is spearheading the new system.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that the SSS would operate with the motto ‘dignity, fairness and respect’ and it made its first payment earlier this year.

Scottish Labour criticised the Scottish Government’s decision to leave the carer’s allowance in the hands of Westminster, with Social Security spokesman Mark Griffin telling the Times: “Scotland’s carers work tirelessly to support loved ones day in day out and they deserve better than being left at the whims of the Tory DWP while our new powers are being left on the shelf.

“We could be using these new powers to allow carers access to full time education and end the earnings cliff edge but instead SNP ministers have signed up to a deal with the Tories which blocks even a single change being made.

“The fact that SNP ministers are sending millions down south to the hated DWP makes this decision particularly gut-wrenching.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson hit back: “The introduction of the carer’s allowance supplement in Scotland addresses the unfairness that carer’s allowance is the lowest of the working-age benefits.

“Bringing it into line with jobseeker’s allowance was one of the first commitments we made in light of our new social security powers.

To ensure we got this money in people’s pockets as quickly as possible, we entered into an agreement with DWP to get the data we need on who is receiving carer’s allowance in Scotland, in a temporary arrangement until delivery of carer’s allowance is fully transferred to the Scottish government.”