MOVES to create a new Scottish benefits system that treats people “with dignity, fairness and respect” will see 2,000 welfare recipients recruited as advisors to help shape the system.

Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman said the ‘Daniel Blakes’ would help prevent Scotland repeating mistakes and failings in the UK benefits system.

Ken Loach’s film about one man’s experiences at the hands of the Department for Work and Pensions has represented the stories of many who claim benefits, Ms Freeman said.

“None of it is exaggerated and too many people have exactly that kind of story to tell,” Ms Freeman said. “Creating a system that treats people with dignity, fairness and respect shouldn’t be a big ask. But given people’s experiences of the current system it absolutely is a big deal.”

The Scottish Government’s three month consultation on social security closes on Monday, after initial plans were published for a Scottish social security system.

Ministers will now look at responses and decide what form a social security agency for Scotland will take, and how to wield new devolved powers publishing their findings by January 2017 and aim to have legislation before parliament by next summer.

Scottish Government plans include bringing Carer’s Allowance up to the same level as Job Seeker’s Allowance, which will put up around £700 annually in the pockets of adult carers, increasing the Sure Start maternity grant and changing its name to Best Start, as well as the introduction of a new Job Grant for those out of work for six months who move into employment.

But ministers are to turn their backs on talk of ‘welfare’, Ms Freeman said.

“It is important to us that this is a social security system. We are absolutely convinced that social security is an investment that we make individually and collectively for ourselves and each other. Neither you nor I know when we might need that help and support,” she added.

Volunteers will mainly be people who currently rely on benefits, but also workers with knowledge of the system, such as welfare rights advisors, and those with experience of payment systems and even ex-DWP employees, Ms Freeman said.

Before the end of the year, the Government aims to recruit 2000 volunteers to help advise it over the next four and a half years, as it sets up a social security system from scratch, and decides how to use new powers over a range of benefits. A disability benefits advisory commission will also be set up by Christmas as the government considers rationalising Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Personal Independent Payments.

While measures will be introduced to counter-fraud and ensure people do not rely on the system when they could work, levels of fraud are exaggerated, Ms Freeman added.

“Rhetoric from some politicians and parts of our mainstream media has created the impression that people who need the support of the social security system are undeserving,” she said. “Where there are fraudulent behaviours, we need to spot them and deal with it. But that is very different from designing a system that presumes that everyone who comes into it is trying to pull a fast one,” she said.

The Scottish Government is getting important new welfare powers over a limited number of benefits, including disability benefits and carers’ allowance, while also getting the power to vary elements of the universal credit.

However the new social security powers will only account for 15 per cent of the total Scottish benefit bill, or £2.7 billion – with the bulk of spending still controlled at Westminster, including job seekers’ allowance and the employment and support allowance.

Nevertheless, the powers will allow Scotland to set a different course from the UK government, Ms Freeman said, treating claimants with dignity and respect. “There is an opportunity here to design a system for Scotland from scratch. The challenge is to make that come alive and show that we mean it,” she said.

John McArdle of the Black Triangle Campaign for disabled people said: "The Scottish Government is absolutely right to involve as many people as possible at the receiving end of the current UK administered social security system. But it is incredibly frustrating that only 15 per cent of the budget is being devolved and the Scottish Government won’t end up administering all of that until 2020.

"They should consult with disabled people about how to mitigate the effects of the UK welfare system. But we believe it is impossible to operate in a way which is humane and gives people their dignity while working in tandem with the system operated by the Department for Work and Pensions in London."