6 December 2018

Tories Gear up for "Major Betrayal of Scotland"

Speaking to BBC Radio Four this morning, Theresa May outlined that MPs will now be given a choice to either extend the transition period to 2022, breaking clear promises made to Scotland’s fishing industry, or trigger the Northern Ireland backstop, offering special treatment that leaves Scotland at a significant economic disadvantage.

Scottish Secretary, David Mundell, and Scottish Tory leader, Ruth Davidson, said in October that any deal which gave Northern Ireland special status would be a red line issue – and threatened to resign on that basis.

And only last month, all of Scotland’s 13 Tory MPs penned a letter to the Prime Minister demanding the UK leave the Common Fisheries Policy by 2020. The letter states that anything less would be a “betrayal of Scotland”, adding that any future agreement preventing the UK from independently negotiating access and quota shares would be unsupportable.

The pair have now back-tracked on a host previous red-line issues, choosing to ignore fresh calls to resign.

Commenting, SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“David Mundell and Ruth Davidson could not have been any clearer – they said that Northern Ireland should not be given special treatment and Scotland should be out of the Common Fisheries Policy by 2020.

“But today Theresa May has outlined in stark terms that those red lines drawn by her colleagues will completely demolished.

“Scotland’s fishing industry is set to be sold out in order to appease right-wing brexiteers who are intent on dragging Scotland out of the EU against its will.

“The industry could end up with precisely no gains whatsoever from Brexit, trapped in the Common Fisheries Policy with no voice or a say in negotiations until 2022.

“And the Prime Minister will be bracing herself for a humiliating defeat on Tuesday. There is no majority in the Commons for her damaging bad deal, nor for the disaster of a No Deal. That’s why we need better options back on the table – staying in the EU, or staying in the single market which is eight times bigger than the UK alone.”

5 December 2018

Scottish Government Promises to Maintain Disability Benefits

The Scottish Parliament has promised to maintain the disability benefits currently available from the Department of Welfare and Pensions (DWP).

This move comes after Peter Searle, a DWP senior official, warned MSPs that the roll-out of Universal Credit could result in a “significant number” of people to receive less financial support.

Searle told MSPs that more was being spent on Universal Credit than on the system it replaced, meaning “on average people will gain”. He added:

“Some people, as you say, and a significant number of will receive less than they would have done.”

Now it has emerged that the Scottish Government has plans to ensure a ‘safe and secure transition of the benefits from the DWP.’ With the timetable and delivery schedule to be announced next year.

The assurances of these benefits were confirmed after a question by Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson, regarding the future status of these benefits.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“We are committed to maintaining the level of the disability benefits that are paid to individuals and to raise it annually by at least the rate of inflation. We will also protect disability assistance by ensuring that benefits continue to be non-means tested."

“We are involving people who receive those benefits in the design of our system’s process for disability benefits. I therefore know that they want to ensure that the assessments are undertaken in-house by Social Security Scotland, ensuring that the DWP and private sector agencies will no longer be involved in the assessment process.”

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“It is a relief to see that the Scottish Government will be maintaining the benefits now provided by the DWP and it is comforting to know that the many disabled people who rely on these benefits need not worry about less financial support in the future.

“Once again the SNP government has proven itself much more conscious of the needs of Scotland’s citizens than the Tory UK Government.”

Stewart Stevenson
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