Latest Public Sector News

12.10.15

‘Game-changer’ Holyrood devolution will open up benefit ‘top up’ powers

Ministers will be able to “top up” tax credits and child benefits as part of Holyrood’s “new era of devolution”, secretary of state for Scotland David Mundell MP has promised.

He said the Scotland Bill, currently making its way through Westminster, will be a “game-changer” and will allow ministers to design a “significant part” of Scotland’s welfare system and control income tax.

Ahead of talks between the Scottish and UK governments today (12 October), Mundell added: “If they want to top up existing benefits, they will be able to. If they want to introduce payments to those in short-term need or design new benefits in those welfare areas being devolved, that will also be an option available to them.

“Powers in the Scotland Bill ensures the Scottish Parliament will have the means to pay for any changes, but it will have to justify them to the public, as under the new arrangements, income tax raised in Scotland will stay in Scotland and be spent in Scotland.”

Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary, Ian Murray, stressed that the Bill should provide the Scottish government with sufficient power to protect “the vulnerable from Tory cuts” and raise the money needed by public services.

“It is time for the politics to stop and for the SNP government to get on with using powers now,” he said.

Last week, Mundell told BBC Radio that the new income tax powers should be transferred by April 2017.

And today, Scotland’s social justice secretary, Alex Neil, launched a paper on government conservations with the public and stakeholders on how these social security powers should be used.

He said: “This feedback is helping us develop our own social security system which we will ensure treats individuals with respect and removes the barriers that cause confusion and anxiety for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“The new system will have at its heart a set of principles and values. This will include ensuring people are treated with respect and dignity when applying for, being assessed for, and receiving disability-related benefits.

“It is also important that the system is fair and efficient – that the investment we all make in social security is well managed and is directed at the people who need it, in the way that will support them best.”

The Scottish government will publish another paper at the end of the year setting its “outline vision” for devolved social security.

But despite the momentum, Scotland’s finance secretary and deputy first minister, John Swinney MSP, threatened to pull the plug on devolution plans last month unless there was a fair deal on money.

He told the Scottish Parliament that the devolution proposed in the Bill would not be passed without a just “fiscal framework”, arguing that it currently fell short of recommendations made in the Smith Commission.

According to the Herald Scotland, talks are “currently taking place” between the two government over the fiscal framework. Three meetings were already held and another is to take place later this month.

(Top image c. David Jones/PA Wire)

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Utilising data to best deliver meaningful public services

14/11/2019Utilising data to best deliver meaningful public services

Public Sector Executive’s Matt Roberts explains how living in a modern, interconnected world, as we do, means public sector organisations cannot afford to ignore the rol... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >