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Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 5th October 2017.

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Photo of Alex Rowley Alex Rowley Labour

In her programme for government, the First Minister announced that she would bring forward a number of papers to set out the case for this Parliament having more powers. The Labour Party looks forward to those papers. Where we can work together and where it makes sense to have powers in this place, that is where the powers should be.

I understand the First Minister’s point about continually mitigating the Tories’ welfare cuts. Labour’s answer is that we want a general election as soon as possible. The Government in Westminster is bankrupt of ideas and has no place to go. We will work for that general election and work to put Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street.

Some £400,000 from a Government budget of £30 billion would not be a lot to stop the Tory attack on cancer patients, but it would certainly mean a lot for those people and their families. I hope that the First Minister will look at that. If she will not take action, Labour will lodge amendments to the Social Security (Scotland) Bill to deliver that. Saying, “We want a different type of social security system—one based on dignity and respect,” is all well and good, but people want action. Will the First Minister move beyond those warm words and work with Labour to reverse these cuts and address the appalling welfare reforms that are affecting so many people so badly up and down Scotland?