Clause 24 — Universal credit: costs of claimants who rent accommodation

Part of Scotland Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:30 pm on 30th June 2015.

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Photo of David Mundell David Mundell The Secretary of State for Scotland 4:30 pm, 30th June 2015

On this occasion, I am afraid I will disappoint Ian Murray because I am going to speak for more than 90 seconds. I have enjoyed hearing the full contribution rather than just interventions from Ian Blackford, although the length was probably not that different. Patricia Gibson gave a spirited contribution, although I did not recognise myself in her description. As for Tommy Sheppard, we are in agreement on so many things; it is only bits in his contribution that spoil it. I do trust the Scottish Parliament and I want it to make significant decisions on welfare unimpeded by the views of the UK Government. I shall say more about clause 25(3) later, but there is no restriction on the policy decisions of the Scottish Government and Parliament in relation to those provisions. The issue is about timing.

Let me make some wider comments about what was said by the hon. Gentleman. As I have said throughout, I am reflecting on points that have been made during all our discussions. I have given that undertaking not just to Parliament but to the Devolution (Further Powers) Committee, and, indeed, to the Scottish Government. If Members want selective quotations from Mr Swinney’s letter, I will give them one that I think sums up the situation.

“When we met on 25 June we agreed on a programme of work to be undertaken before Report stage with a view to producing a Bill that reflected the Smith commission, the concerns of stakeholders and the views of the Scottish Parliament.”

That is absolutely my position, and I am committed to working with the Deputy First Minister in that regard.