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Scotland Act 1998

General

The reservation describes social security not in terms of benefits for specific purposes but in terms of the power and responsibilities which underlie any type of social security provision as follows:

(a)

the establishment and financing from central or local government expenditure of general or specific schemes of assistance to or in respect of individuals by way of benefits (which includes pensions, allowances, grants or loans) for social security purposes;

(b)

requiring persons (such as employers or individuals or local authorities) to set up or administer schemes for social security purposes or to make contributions or payments towards them and to keep records and supply information in connection with all aspects of scheme administration, including verification of claims and investigating fraud; and

(c)

the establishment of a liability for a person to maintain himself or another for social security and child support purposes.

The reservation has been cast in this way to make allowance for changes over time in the exact scope and coverage of the UK-wide social security system, and the way in which benefits are delivered.  For example, in recent years some benefits previously provided directly by central government (such as sickness or maternity benefit) have been replaced by a structure of requirements on employers to make defined payments to their employees.  Similarly some new benefits (such as Disability Living Allowance) have been established.  The reservation, which needs to be read together with the definition of social security purposes in the interpretation paragraph, makes allowance for changes of this kind.

The provision of compensation for injury resulting from vaccination, as provided for by the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme, which are paid through the same channels as social security, is also reserved.

The current law on social security covers the following matters, some of which are given as examples in the illustrations paragraph (which is not intended to be exhaustive of all the matters covered by the reservation):

(a)

National Insurance contributions and contributory National Insurance benefits such as the state retirement pension.  The Secretary of State for Social Security has specific responsibility for the NI Fund;

(b)

other social security benefits of all kinds, including employment-related benefits (such as Job Seekers Allowance);

(c)

payments in respect of industrial accidents, injuries and diseases;

(d)

statutory sick pay and statutory maternity pay;

(e)

the liability to maintain oneself, a spouse and dependent children under 19, or any person in respect of whom an undertaking to maintain has been made under the Immigration Act 1971;

(f)

grants and loans for special needs payable through the Social Fund and the Independent Living Funds;

(g)

the administration of the social security and employment benefits system whether carried out by the Department of Social Security, other government departments or others;

(h)

decision-making and appeals arrangements;

(i)

the funding of resettlement provision for persons without a settled way of life under section 30 of the Jobseekers Act 1995;

(j)

payments under the vaccine damage payments scheme;

(k)

the recovery of benefits where compensation is paid in consequence of accident, injury or disease and the recovery of benefits from earnings, and deductions from benefits to meet an individual’s debts; and

(l)

public bodies whether tribunal, executive, advisory or regulatory dealing with these issues.

Section 110 provides the Secretary of State (for Social Security) the power to take account of the implications of varied Scottish rates of income tax (as may be provided for under Part IV of the Scotland Act) for social security, child support and pensions purposes and to determine whether a person is to be treated as a Scottish taxpayer and to specify what shall be treated as the Scottish rate of tax in any year of assessment.  The purpose of these provisions is primarily to ensure that benefit decisions can be made promptly without uncertainty over the appropriate tax rate to apply where tax is relevant to benefit entitlement.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.

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