04 Oct 2011

SNP MSP John Mason a member of the Scotland Bill Committee and former SNP spokesman on Work and Pensions has welcomed submissions to the Scotland Bill Committee that develop the case for welfare devolution. The Scottish Campaign on Welfare Reform and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) have tabled submissions which point to the inadequacies of the present welfare system run from Westminster.

The SCVO says the UK Government control slows down progress in Scotland and highlight areas, including employability, where the situation in Scotland is hampered by UK controls saying: “Ideally, SCVO wanted the Scotland Bill to usher in more employability powers for Scotland.


“The UK Government’s move towards a profit driven Work Programme has further widened the gap between its approach and Scotland’s positive, inclusive approach.

The SCVO also cite housing as an area where the actions of the UK are having a negative impact in Scotland:

“The changes to Housing Benefit are likely to have an adverse effect on the Scottish Government’s homelessness commitment to remove the distinction between priority and non-priority need to give all applicants the same right to accommodation.

The Scottish Campaign on Welfare Reform wants to see “devolution of certain aspects of welfare reform” and call for “Welfare benefits in Scotland suitable for Scotland”.

They cite the needs of families and communities pointing out that the UK Governments plans are ill-advised, stating: “An unprecedented £18bn of cuts is being made to benefits and tax credits. Many aspects of these cuts and reforms will have significant and too often very negative impacts on individuals and communities across Scotland, and on devolved housing, childcare, health social care and anti-poverty policy.

Commenting ahead of Tuesday’s committee meeting John Mason, SNP MSP for Glasgow Shettleston said:

“Organisations on the frontline are well aware of the problems UK control of welfare causes in Scotland.

“In Scotland we want to combine our economic, health and social policy objectives with those of our welfare system. Despite the best efforts of the Scottish Government and organisations across Scottish society the UK Government’s approach hampers our ability to address some of our most serious problems including unemployment and worklessness.

“Too often when it comes to tackling social problems Scotland’s is operating with one hand tied behind our backs.

“If the UK Government hears the concerns of people and organisations working day in and day out on the front line then they will see that the benefit of devolving powers to the Scottish Parliament is greater than ever.”