Scottish ministers call for further Scotland Bill amendments

Fair Work Secretary Roseanna Cunningham

The UK government has been asked to work with Scottish ministers to ensure the final Scotland Billmeets the principles and recommendations of theSmith Commission.

At yesterday’s Joint Ministerial Working Group on Welfare both Fair Work Secretary Roseanna Cunningham and Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil stressed how important it was to Scotland that “significant” changes are made to the bill and specifically asked that amendments are drafted in consultation with Scottish ministers well in advance of final report stage.

There were also discussions on the future delivery of employment support services and social security provision.

Speaking after the meeting Ms Cunningham said: “Today’s meeting was constructive but there is a lot of work to be done to ensure the Scotland Bill reflects both the principles and recommendations of the Smith Commission.

“We have offered to work closely with the UK government on the draft clauses and to work through any amendments with them to ensure when we get to final report stage we have something that is fit for purpose and in Scotland’s best interests.

“We also had a useful discussion around future employment support services and the issue of shared governance of Jobcentre Plus where it was agreed it would be looked at in more detail.”

Mr Neil said: “While today’s meeting was fairly positive, the proof is in the pudding in terms of what happens next. We have asked to be consulted as the amendments progress to ensure there are no surprises when the final clauses are served up at final report stage.

“I also took the opportunity of today’s meeting to raise with Mr Mundell the devastating effect the budget is going to have in Scotland with Scottish families being hit with a massive £700m tax credit cut – this is clearly an unacceptable attack on some of the most vulnerable in our society.

“And I stressed that we will continue to oppose the Welfare Reform and Work Bill.”

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