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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charities blast Scotland bill

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Proposed devolution legislation could be counter-productive

Scottish third sector groups have called for further devolution of social security powers – amid fears provisions in the current Scotland bill don’t go far enough.

In written submissions to the Scottish Parliament’s welfare reform committee, the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and Inclusion Scotland state their disappointment at the current limited scope of the welfare powers set out in the proposed legislation.

Inclusion Scotland said the bill – which is supposed to deliver on the post-referendum Smith Commission proposals – could in fact seek to reduce the Scottish Government’s use of devolved powers.

In its submission, the disability charity said the bill as currently constituted could “restrict the autonomy of the Scottish Parliament in constructing a new disability benefits system”.

Front line organisations see first-hand the devastating impact of Tory welfare cuts

SAMH said the intention of the Smith Commission to allow the Scottish Government to make discretionary welfare payments “is undermined by the conditions included in the Scotland bill on exceptions and is not a true transfer of powers”, and that these restrictions “seem unwarranted and not in line with the Smith Commission’s recommendations.”

SNP MSP Clare Adamson said: “Every week, more and more groups from across civic Scotland are lining up to call for the UK government to deliver the powers Scotland was promised. It is front line organisations like these which see first-hand the often devastating impact of Tory welfare cuts, so it’s time for David Cameron to sit up and take notice.

“It’s not enough to simply grant Scotland the ability to tinker around the edges of a social security system brought to its knees by Tory cuts – full powers over welfare should be in Scotland’s hands to allow us to take a new, progressive approach which supports people who need help, rather than punishing them.

“The suggestion that the Scotland bill as it stands could limit the Scottish Government’s use of devolved powers is deeply worrying. David Cameron must be under no illusions – any attempts to restrict the use of devolved powers would be completely unacceptable to the people of Scotland.”



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