Question reference: S5W-35300
Pauline McNeill, Glasgow, Scottish Labour
Date lodged: 18 February 2021
To ask the Scottish Government what steps will be required to automate the Scottish Child Payment in the next two years.
Current status: Answered by Shirley-Anne Somerville on 25 February 2021
As set out in our October 2019 position paper and September 2020 response to the Scottish Commission on Social Security’s recommendations ; it would not be feasible to deliver an automated Scottish Child Payment until full roll-out of Universal Credit, which is currently scheduled to be 2024 at the earliest. To deliver an automated payment earlier, we would have had to build interfaces with all the legacy benefits, which would be complex, time-consuming and impossible to deliver within the timescales of the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan (2022), especially given the already full programme of work to deliver the devolved benefits.
We remain committed to automation where possible, and we will review the feasibility again as part of the wider review of Scottish Child Payment after full roll out. However, an automated service would still be complex and require substantial work, as well as a significant level of support from the Department for Work and Pensions. We would be absolutely dependent on the UK Government to provide the necessary data we would need to automate the payment, which is not currently provided.