Scottish Government & welfare debacle

  • Alfie Baron
2017 will see 11 new payments being devolved and put into the care of the Scottish Government. It has since come to light that the Scottish Government doesn't want to take responsibility for these payments until 2020 as they don't have the 'proper systems' in place to administer the payments. It is thought that around £2.7 billion a year, or 15 per cent of the total Scottish benefit bill will be devolved to the Scottish Government.

The SNP's Social Security Minister, Jeanne Freeman, has denied they are ducking out of the new powers. It is being widely reported that SNP ministers have asked the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to remain in charge of payments until 2020 under an arrangement known as "split competence".

Labour's Neil Findlay accused the SNP of having "brass neck" - citing the SNP's belief that they could setup an entire independent state in eighteen months - but they want three years to setup the system to administer welfare payments!

Jeanne Freeman said "to call this a delay is to completely misunderstand the process of how you go about building a new public service" and the SNP government had been consistent that a Scottish social security agency would be set up by 2021.

"We will take the time, we will listen, we will not be bullied into false timescales or deadline dates, and within the lifetime of this parliament we will deliver a social security system for Scotland that everyone in Scotland can be proud of,"
SNP MSP Mark McDonald quits SNP in Sleaze Investigation
  • Alfie Baron

Aberdeen Donside MSP Mark McDonald has quit the Scottish National Party (SNP).

His resignations follows allegations of misconduct against at least two women.

McDonald resigned from the SNP with immediate effect - but will remain as an Independent MSP.