WELFARE is something no-one want to claim or depend on, however we need a system in place for the vulnerable and those who need to claim long- or short-term welfare. The Scottish Government have 15% of welfare spend in Scotland devolved, however, it continues to spend massive sums mitigating against welfare cuts made by the Conservatives at Westminster.

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Discretionary Housing Payments are devolved and figures just released by the Scottish Government indicate a massive 25% increase in these since Covid. This is in part due to the UK Government’s welfare cap, impacting on many vulnerable households and ultimately costing the Scottish Government through mitigating measures. Those measures include substantial increases to the Scottish Welfare Fund and continued mitigating measures against the Conservatives’ Bedroom Tax.

One of the first announcements by our new First Minister was to increase the Fuel Insecurity Fund next year from £10 million annually to £30m, a huge increase and reaching out in this current cost of living crisis. The Scottish Government is to be commended for taking these mitigating measures, but how long can Scotland’s economy continue to fund them, and would it not make sense for full welfare powers to be devolved to Scotland?

Catriona C Clark