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£360,000 in Benefit Payments to Orcadians But Challenges Ahead For Social Security Scotland In Increase In Referrals

Over £360,000 in benefits has been paid to residents in Orkney over the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022, according to Social Security Scotland’s Annual Report and Accounts.

Chief Executive of Social Security Scotland, David Wallace said:

“Four years ago, we began delivering our new social security service for Scotland after listening to people who had experience of the benefits system. They helped us create a service based on our values of dignity, fairness and respect and we continue to listen to them as we grow and deliver more benefits.”

A survey of people receiving benefits from Scotland’s own Social Security service gave outstanding positive results for the way those who accessed support had been treated with 87% saying that they felt that had been treated with dignity and fairness. 89% felt that had been treated with respect.

Commenting on the results, Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Emma Roddick said:

“Social Security Scotland’s huge efforts in creating a fair system are being felt across the country, from our outer islands to our central cities. 

“The game-changing Scottish Child Payment is the perfect example of how we are doing things differently, and the newly-announced Island Cost Crisis Emergency Fund demonstrates the Scottish Government’s concern for the resilience of island communities, and clear understanding of how the impact of the cost of fuel this winter will hit islanders differently.

“While I’m frustrated and disappointed that this action has been made necessary by unfair UK energy policy, I hope that Orcadians will take up the Scottish benefits they are entitled to this winter, and I hope, in future, we’ll be able to do more with greater powers here in the Scottish Parliament.”

Social Security Scotland is an Executive Agency, part of the Scottish Government, which means that the Agency is accountable to Ministers, and Ministers are accountable to Parliament. It was set up to handle the many devolved payments which Scotland has put in place to support people when they need it. It is founded on the principles of treating people with dignity and respect.

11 benefits were delivered to provide essential support to low-income families during the key stages in a child’s life, carers and disabled people. The support paid in benefits to people across Scotland over the course of this financial year totalled £3.48 billion.

Payments made last financial year were for:

  • Carer’s Allowance Supplement
  • Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment
  • Best Start Grant Early Learning payment
  • Best Start Grant School Age Payment
  • Best Start Foods
  • Funeral Support Payment
  • Young Carer Grant
  • Job Start Payment
  • Scottish Child Payment
  • Child Winter Heating Assistance
  • Child Disability Payment

The Adult Disability Payment pilot commenced in late March 2022, therefore there is no expenditure for this year.

David Wallace said:

“Our annual Client Survey reflects the work we have put in to deliver on our commitment and the fact that we managed to maintain such an exceptionally high level of client satisfaction through a period of significant growth is a source of immense pride for me.

“In fact, 96% of people surveyed told us they had received their benefit payments when we said they would. These results are testament to the care and pride our people take in their work. We have worked hard to build a diverse workforce of people who share our values  that reflects modern Scotland.

“The year ahead will remain difficult for many of us but our commitment to our clients remains strong and we will continue to listen to their feedback as we develop our service and prepare to deliver new benefits.”

The Audit reported that the 2022/23 budget was set at £4.2 billion. But the severe impact of the rise in prices for basic foods and energy means that more people will be accessing the support they need in order to get by.

The financial challenge going forward is significant as annual benefit expenditure is forecast to be considerably higher than the funding received by 2026/27. Demonstrating the impact of this financial investment will be vital.

Social Security Scotland Annual Audit 2020/2021

The Audit report and the user survey will be used to improve the service.

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