NEW ANALYSIS SHOWS SCOTLAND BILL WILL NOT DEFEND SCOTLAND FROM TORY SLASH AND BURN ON WELFARE
The SNP is today highlighting new analysis showing that the powers proposed in the Scotland Bill would not have protected Scotland from slashes to welfare spending announced in this week’s UK budget.
Analysis from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) has found that all of the changes to tax credits and working age benefits announced in the budget impact areas that will remain reserved – even after the Scotland Bill is implemented.
In addition, there were no announcements in the budget involving benefits set to be devolved under the Scotland Bill – showing the damage a UK Chancellor will still be able to do to the welfare system in years to come.
The analysis finds the majority of measures on personal tax, childcare, reform and sustainability, tax avoidance and planning, and tax evasion and compliance also relate to powers that will remain reserved.
The note from SPICe states: “…it is clear that the vast majority of the measures announced would continue to apply in Scotland following the full implementation of the Scotland Bill (2015) as it stands at present.”
These findings are in stark contrast to UK Government claims that the Scotland Bill will make the Scottish Parliament one of the most powerful devolved Parliaments in the world.
They also embarrassingly contradict Scottish Labour leadership candidate Kezia Dugdale’s claims that the “major new” Scotland Bill powers can protect Scotland from the Tories.
Commenting, SNP MSP Linda Fabiani, who sat on the Smith Commission, said:
“This new analysis from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre lays out the limitations of the Scotland Bill – and shows exactly why we need a strengthened package of powers.
“Even after the current proposals are implemented, SPICe finds Scotland would still be impacted by the ‘vast majority of the measures announced’. The fact that none of Wednesday’s announcements involved benefits set to be devolved shows that George Osborne will still be able to slash and burn Scotland’s welfare system even after the Scotland Bill comes into force.
“The IFS estimate that around 13 million families across the UK will lose on average £260 a year as a result of Osborne’s Budget – even after the minimum wage proposals. Plans to introduce a so-called National Living Wage – starting lower than the real Living Wage of £7.85 an hour – are a con-trick that will actually result in slower growth in wages, and the IFS make clear it will be impossible for less well off workers and families to be better off as a result of it.
“The Scottish Government will continue to do absolutely everything in its power to mitigate the impact of the Tories’ harsh welfare reforms – but the fact is the Scotland Bill falls far short of the powers Scotland needs to thrive. This analysis shows Tory claims of a ‘powerhouse Parliament’ are laughable.
“The poorest people in society, including the working poor, have paid the price for the Tory obsession with austerity for far too long – it’s time for full control over welfare and employment to be in Scotland’s hands. This is the only way to guarantee a new approach with growth and fairness at its heart, rather than remaining wedded to the Tories’ failed, ideological commitment to cuts.”
The table from SPICe is attached.
A note from SPICe also states:
“…it is clear that the vast majority of the measures announced would continue to apply in Scotland following the full implementation of the Scotland Bill (2015) as it stands at present.”
“A number of changes were announced with regard to tax credits and working age benefits, all of which will remain reserved under the Smith proposals, and therefore the changes will continue to apply following full implementation of the Scotland Bill, as currently drafted.”
“There were no announcements in the budget regarding the benefits that will be devolved – DLA, PIP, AA, CA and the Regulated Social Fund.”
Following David Cameron’s meeting with the First Minister in May, the Number 10 Twitter account again repeated the claim that the UK Government’s draft proposals will make Scotland one of the most powerful devolved Parliaments in the world. This is despite the fact the Scottish Parliament’s Devolution Committee report did not find this to be the case. https://twitter.com/Number10press/status/599183850158333953