– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th July 2016.
What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Ministers of the Scottish Government on the devolution and implementation of social security powers.
I am committed to working with the Scottish Government to ensure a safe and secure transfer of welfare powers. I met Scottish Ministers in the joint ministerial working group on welfare on
What assurances can the Secretary of State give that Scotland will be no worse off with the devolution of new social security powers?
I certainly hope that individuals in Scotland will be no worse off. Inevitably, the devolution of these powers means that specific decisions about their use will be made by the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government. The amount of certain payments and their shape and nature will be matters for them.
Will the Secretary of State update us on discussions on the devolution of the social fund funeral payments?
I am hoping to move forward with a commencement order for those powers before this Parliament goes into recess. That effectively means the transfer of the arrangements to the Scottish Government.
I have asked the Scottish Secretary twice via written questions when he last visited a food bank. The answer has been the same on both occasions—he has not visited a food bank in his capacity as Secretary of State for Scotland. Will he therefore today agree to visit a food bank with me in my constituency so that he can see at first hand the devastating effect of Tory sanctions and welfare policies?
The hon. Lady is very well aware that I have visited a food bank and understand the issues that surround them.
The agreement between the United Kingdom Government and the Scottish Government set out exactly how the new Scottish welfare budget will be agreed. Will the Secretary of State explain what would happen in the event of the UK Government abolishing a specific benefit that has been devolved to Scotland? In that circumstance, will the Scottish Government retain the budget or will they lose it?
The financial arrangements for the transfer of powers were dealt with in the fiscal framework, and that circumstance was contemplated in it. There are two sets of benefits that are subject to transfer: one is a set of benefits for which the Scottish Government will have full responsibility and can therefore shape and make a new benefit or change benefits; and the other set involves powers to top-up existing UK benefits. Clearly, if an existing UK benefit did not exist, the power to top it up would not exist either, but the power to create an equivalent might well do.