Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 25th May 2017.
As members know from our statements in Parliament, the benefit cap is an issue that we have directly addressed with the current UK Government and will directly address with the incoming UK Government, with respect to the cap’s effect and impact on individuals, because the UK Government intends to apply it to devolved benefits. That is something that we strongly believe undercuts the agreement in the Smith commission and fiscal framework.
I am happy to advise Ben Macpherson that we consistently press the UK Government to reverse policies that operate by assessing need and then choosing not to meet it—which is ironic, in a social security system.
This morning, I have come from a helpful discussion with East Lothian Council on the impact of full roll-out of universal credit on the authority and its residents. I am pleased that we are looking to work directly with our newly elected local authorities and with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, as it forms under the new administrations, so that collectively we increase pressure from Scotland on the UK Government to reverse all the changes that it has introduced, and which evidence shows have a direct impact on vulnerable families and children in particular and, of course, on women.