AN independent Scotland would remove the two-child benefit limit and bedroom tax, a new Scottish Government white paper has said.

In the latest white paper, Social Security in an independent Scotland, the Scottish Government has set out how they would take a fairer, more dignified and respectful approach to benefits.

This would include several swift reforms to the Universal Credit system, including removing the two-child limit and scrapping the rape clause to lift families out of poverty.

Ministers would also seek to remove the benefit cap that primarily impacts families with children, the bedroom tax, and ending the current benefit sanctions regime.

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The young parent penalty would also be scrapped, ensuring parents under 25 receive the same benefits as claimants over that age, and there would be more investment to support people moving into work - such as up-front childcare costs, travel and clothing.

The Scottish Government estimates that it would cost over £250 million to reform Universal Credit, adding that this is in the context of £24.7 billion being spent on social security by both the Scottish and UK Governments.

The paper adds: “In addition, reductions in poverty and destitution could be expected to reduce other costs to the state over the long term, for example, those caused by health inequalities; this links to the Scottish Government’s underlying approach to the wellbeing economy and a joined-up approach to government, focusing on outcomes to make people healthier, happier and wealthier.”

In the long term, ministers would also look at introducing a minimum income for all Scottish citizens, making sure there is a “safety net” in the case of unemployment and creating a completely new social security system.

The National:

“It would be a system in which access to social security is a human right, a system committed to respecting the dignity of individuals and reducing poverty levels in Scotland,” the paper reads.

“A system which provides an integrated system of support for disabled people and carers, without the limitations of delivering within a reserved tax and social security system.”

Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “With independence, we believe Scotland can do better. With limited powers, the Scottish Government has already demonstrated that things can be done differently with an approach to social security that treats people with dignity, fairness and respect.

“An estimated 90,000 fewer children are expected to live in relative and absolute poverty this year as a result of actions we have taken.

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“With the powers of an independent nation, Scotland could do more to make our system fairer and move away from the UK Government’s system of benefit freezes, caps and punishment. We could move away from the UK Government’s system that offers inadequate levels of financial support and is pushing people into poverty.

“The best-performing independent countries comparable to Scotland demonstrate that a strong social safety net is a foundation of a dynamic, innovative and productive economy, rather than a barrier to it.

“We can become a stronger, fairer and more prosperous country – this government believes that independence is the best route to getting there.”

We told how at the launch of the white paper on the EU last month, Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson said that Scotland is in a “good place” to have 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.