This Bill for an Act of the Scottish Parliament making provision about social security. The Bill, which is currently in its second stage, was introduced by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, Angela Constance MSP, on 20 June 2017.
JUSTICE seeks to raise our concerns regarding the proposed offences set out in Part 5 of the Bill. In our view, these are in some respects overbroad and imprecise, and criminalise conduct which is careless or negligent rather than dishonest. The Bill creates offences which do not require criminal intent on the part of the accused, for example in relation to benefits claims.
The Bill should not seek to create offences of this kind aimed at those who may be vulnerable and liable to make mistakes. In JUSTICE’s view, it should seek to replicate the UK offences, with a requirement to knowingly provide false information for gain.