THE Scottish Government is set to publish its ninth independence white paper on taking a new transformational approach to social security.

The latest publication will focus on creating a benefits system that would ensure a decent standard of living for all Scots.

Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville is set to lead the launch of the latest edition of the Building a New Scotland series on Wednesday 6 December.

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It comes after the Scottish Government published two papers in November, one on Scotland’s path to rejoining the European Union and a second on marine policy.

The ninth paper, titled Social Security in an Independent Scotland, is set to focus on the progress already made in Scotland after powers over several benefits were devolved, and how an independent Scotland could go further.

Such as the Scottish Child Payment, a £25 a week payment made to the lowest income families in Scotland, which has previously been lauded as "significantly" impacting levels of child poverty. 

“The Scottish Parliament has shown how Scotland can make different choices and deliver a fairer system with more positive outcomes,” Somerville said.

The National:

“Independence would provide us with an opportunity to go further and transform the way benefits are delivered in this country.

“With independence, we could ensure everyone has a decent standard of living and provide a strong safety net people could turn to when times are financially tough.”

The Social Justice Secretary added that the UK system currently “fails to provide an adequate level of support” for those in need. In the latest Autumn Statement, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced plans to force benefit claimants to look for work or risk losing their support.

The new rules will force hundreds of thousands of claimants with mobility and mental health problems to search for work they can do from home, or risk their benefits being reduced by £4680 each year.

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Somerville added: “As a result, the UK has higher poverty rates than European nations that are comparable to Scotland.

“With limited powers, the Scottish Government has introduced transformative policies such as the Scottish Child Payment, which is estimated to lift 50,000 children out of relative poverty in 2023-24.

“However, it is only with the full powers of independence that we could use the full fiscal and economic levers to tackle poverty in Scotland.”

We told how at the launch of the white paper on the EU last month, Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson said that Scotland had a “good chance” of a quick accession to the bloc.

Elsewhere, Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said that leaving the UK to become an independent EU member would help reverse the impact of Brexit on the marine sector.