SCOTLAND is set to see record spending on social security despite the UK Government "steadily dismantling the welfare system", according to a minister. 

Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville will highlight record spending on welfare at a Holyrood debate on Wednesday. 

She will say that the Scottish Government is seeking to make choices that will help people struggling through the cost of living crisis. 

The Scottish budget for 2024/25 includes £6.3 billion for benefits expenditure.

“Social Security Scotland is a safety net which we continue to strengthen through record investment – all the while the UK Government is steadily dismantling the welfare system across the UK," she will tell MSPs. 

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“We are committing a record £6.3 billion for benefits expenditure through the 2024/25 Budget, which is £1.1 billon more than the UK Government gives to the Scottish Government for social security, demonstrating our commitment to tackling poverty.

“This is money going directly to people who need it the most in the current cost of living crisis.

“We have built a new system with the powers at our disposal – but our hands are tied by our restricted powers and by UK Government austerity.

“That is why we have called for the introduction of an Essentials Guarantee to ensure Universal Credit is actually sufficient for people to afford basic items such as food and heating.

"I continue to call on the Chancellor to deliver an essentials guarantee and scrap the rape clause and two-child cap." 

In January, analysis by the independent Scottish Fiscal Commission found that social protection was the only area of Scottish Government spending which has seen rapid growth over the past three years.

The National: Shirley-Anne Somerville speaking the Scottish ParliamentShirley-Anne Somerville speaking the Scottish Parliament (Image: PA)

It said this was “a result of UK-wide trends for rising spending on disability benefits as well as Scottish Government commitments on social security and the linking of payment rates to inflation”.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “There are 1.7 million fewer people living in absolute poverty, including 400,000 fewer children compared to 2010.

"We are continuing to support families with the cost of living backed by over £100 billion, while cutting taxes and curbing inflation so hard-working people have more money in their pockets.

“Work is the best way to secure financial security which is why we are investing billions breaking down barriers to work and supporting over one million low-income earners through our In Work Progression offer.”