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Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment in Scotland - Turn2us

Scottish Goverment website (link opens in a new window)The Scottish Government (link opens in a new window) has passed legislation to allow for the possibility that some aspects of Universal Credit (UC) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) may have a different effect in Scotland to the rest of the UK. These differences would be in relation to matters such as eligibility for free school meals or Blue Badge parking permits, which rely on receipt of certain benefits to demonstrate eligibility.

The main aspects of UC and PIP, such as the rules of entitlement and benefit rates, cannot be changed, and will be the same across Great Britain, but the Scottish Government does have the power to make rules concerning “devolved” matters (link opens in a new window)

How the Scottish Government may use these powers

The Welfare Reform (Further Provision) (Scotland) Act 2012 (link opens in a new window) received Royal assent on 7 August 2012. TheScottish Government has explained how it may use the powers described above in an explanatory note  (link opens in a new window) as follows:

“The power set out in section 1 of the Act is needed because the existing benefits, which will be abolished, have links to devolved areas, the main one being that they are used as an eligibility hook for a variety of devolved, Scottish “passported benefits”. These include benefits in kind such as free school lunches and cash benefits such as the education maintenance allowance. When the existing benefits are abolished, so too will the current, associated eligibility hooks. The Scottish Ministers may use the power provided by this section to make changes for a devolved purpose such as to refer consequentially to some aspect of the new universal credit or to supplement the gap left by the abolition of the hook benefit, for example by creating new eligibility criteria for certain passported benefits conferred in devolved areas such as health or access to justice. Existing social security benefits also impact on other devolved areas such as pre-action requirements where a landlord’s grounds for possession include rent arrears and cancellation of adoption allowances.“

Wales and Northern Ireland

It is not known at present what, if any, legislation the Welsh Government (link opens in a new window) and Northern Ireland Government (link opens in a new window) will introduce to make similar provision about Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment to that made by the Scottish Government.

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