£1.2m of benefits to Argyll and Bute, says annual report

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The Scottish Government has paid more than £1.2 million to people who live in Argyll and Bute between September 2018 to March 2020.

From September 2018, benefits were delivered to help low-income families during the key stages in a child’s life, as well as people struggling to pay for funerals and unpaid carers.

The figures were revealed in Social Security Scotland’s annual report published today.

The newly-introduced public service was launched in 2018 and between April 1 2019 and March 31 2020, its support across Scotland as a whole totalled £346.7 million.

A further three benefits have been introduced since March this year.

These include the Job Start Payment, Child Winter Heating Assistance and the Scottish Child Payment.

It is estimated these could pay an extra £142 million to people in Scotland every year.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, social security secretary, said: ‘Social security is the most significant new public service to be created in Scotland since devolution.

‘What’s also encouraging is that over 80 per cent of clients who rated their experience of applying for Scotland’s benefits said it was good.

‘Making sure we get money to those who need it is our priority but to truly do things differently we want to make sure that people have a good experience – that they are treated with dignity, fairness and respect.’

She said of 10 benefits offered by the Scottish Government seven are new and the others are more generous than the UK benefits they replaced.

Its Scottish Child Payment will provide eligible parents and carers an additional £10 per child per week and is now open to applications and will be paid from the end of February 2021.

David Wallace, chief executive of Social Security Scotland, said: ‘I’m very proud of what we have achieved during the 2019-20 reporting period and since launching our brand new public service.

‘And I’m pleased we have been able to effectively get money to so many people in Scotland who need it.’

‘There is still a lot more to do as we prepare to start to deliver the more complex disability payments and our service will continue to grow.’