Jeane Freeman has drawn a stark contrast between the SNP’s approach to social security and the Tories’ mismanagement of welfare in her address to SNP Conference.
Scotland’s Social Security Minister set out the opportunities to build a new public service which puts people first, in a rebuke to the Tory agenda of cuts and self-defeating austerity.
Speaking to delegates at the SNP’s conference in Aberdeen, Jeane Freeman MSP said: “We have the opportunity to build a new public service for Scotland – founded upon our unshakeable commitment to human rights and grounded in the principles of dignity, fairness and respect.
“The Tories announced the introduction of Universal Credit in 2010, to be implemented within four years with one million new claimants, with everyone transferred by 2017.
“They’ve pushed that deadline back year after year, until they finally admitted it would take them until 2022.
“Twelve years with all the apparatus of an existing system, a whole department and staff at their disposal. Twelve years. Frankly, they couldn’t run a bath.
“With the limited powers we have in Scotland, in less than two years, and starting from scratch, we have the legislation in place.
“A new public service that has started recruiting for the 1,900 new jobs.
“From this summer we will start delivering our first benefits – the 13% increase to Carer’s Allowance.
“But we do not have all of the powers over that social security support. And because we can’t take over the whole system and start fixing it from the inside, we have to rely on the DWP to provide the information, the data, the security codes and the processes we need at each and every step of the way.
“So it frustrates me hugely that the DWP are just not keeping up with us.
“We’re setting the pace and they aren’t matching it. Scotland comes bottom of their to-do list.
“They have reneged on agreements and pushed back on agreed dates to give us what we need to take our next steps.
“It’s time Esther McVey in the DWP stepped up, matched our commitment and stopped standing in our way.”
Disclaimer: This is an official press release from the Scottish National Party. Headline and featured image added by Welfare Weekly.