Redress for Survivors (Historical Child Abuse in Care) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 17th December 2020.

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Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

I meant to mention Mr Mundell in relation to the burden of proof question, because his speech was dominated by that point. However, his intervention leads us to one of the other issues, which was covered in Ross Greer’s contribution. Another question that we have to resolve is whether we believe that a flat rate payment is more appropriate than a range of payments.

I suspect that going down the route of having a range of payments would require more evidence to be marshalled, whereas a flat-rate payment—which is what the advance payment scheme is based on—would perhaps make it more straightforward to enable payments to be made without it becoming a traumatic and arduous process for survivors.

There are choices to be made about the payments; in relation to that question, again, I am not wedded to a particular approach. I will listen carefully to where Parliament is on those questions and I will listen to survivors because, fundamentally, we want to secure a scheme that meets the needs of survivors and does not add to their trauma.

I hope that I have helped to reassure Parliament this evening that the Government will engage constructively on those questions. The bill has to be workable, because we have to be able to look survivors in the eye after the bill has passed and give them confidence that it delivers what they expect of us. I commit myself to that and I am greatly encouraged by the response of members this afternoon as to the commitment that is shared across the political spectrum.