Jeane Freeman: A social security system based on dignity and respect
Social Security Minister, Jeane Freeman, writes in the Daily Record today about putting dignity and respect at the heart of Scotland’s new social security system – as a new campaign is launched to encourage more people to claim the benefits they are entitled to.
Read the full piece here:
“In my first ten months as Social Security Minister I have met many people, from many different walks of life, all with their own story to tell about their experiences of the UK benefits system.
“From listening to people, it’s become very clear to me that the current UK Government approach is heavy-handed and deliberately unclear. People tell me they don’t feel listened to or treated like an individual when they’re trying to get access to the benefits they’re eligible for and all too often don’t feel like they are treated humanely or with dignity.
“This is unfair, sometimes downright unkind and it needs to change. As we design a new system for Scotland, I’m determined to put dignity and respect at the heart of our social security system – so much so I am even putting that principle into our new social security law.
“Last week I launched a new initiative to encourage people with experience of the benefit system to join our social security experience panels – so you can give us your views on how the current system is, or is not, working for you. And tell us how we can make it better for the future. I want as many as possible to take part so all of us can benefit from that direct personal experience .
“We’re also taking other practical steps. We have awareness raising activity taking place this week to support people to get information on what benefits they are entitled to.
“The evidence shows us that thousands of people each year don’t claim the financial support that is available to them. Whether this is because they’re not aware of what help is available or that their personal circumstances have changed suddenly.
“Our social security system exists to help and support those who need it, when they need it. We all have a stake in ensuring everyone receives the financial help they are entitled to – we never know when we may need it ourselves.
“And, for me, it is one of the first steps we can take towards putting dignity and respect back at the heart of social security policy in Scotland.”
For more details on the campaign read more on the news section on the Scottish Government website.