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Call for progress on amending Scotland Bill

Published: 12 Oct 2015 15:43

Social Justice Secretary calls for clear timetable.

The UK Government must reveal details of the Scotland Bill's amendments in order to deliver the Smith package in full, Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil has said.

At today's Joint Ministerial Working Group on Welfare, Mr Neil urged the Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell and UK Employment Minister Priti Patel to share progress on revisions to the Scotland Bill's powers over welfare and employability.

The UK Government has accepted that amendments will be made to the Scotland Bill, but has still not shared any detail with the Scottish Government.

Speaking directly after the meeting Mr Neil said: "We had another constructive meeting today but have yet to see any tangible progress or detail of any of the amendments promised by the UK Government.

"It is absolutely crucial that we get the chance to comment on them as meaningful consultation with the Scottish Government is essential to strengthen the Scotland Bill so that it reflects both the spirit and substance of the Smith recommendations.

"The Scottish public deserve clarity over our new powers which is why I have now requested a clear timetable.

"In the meantime we will continue our fairer Scotland discussions with stakeholders and the public about how they would like social security services to be delivered in Scotland."

Notes to editors

Areas where the Scottish Government has asked the UK Government to make key amendments include: the power to create new benefits in devolved areas; the ability to make discretionary payments on reserved areas; and clauses on support programmes for unemployed people.

The Joint Ministerial Working Group was established to provide a forum for discussion and decision-making to ensure the implementation of welfare-related aspects of the Smith Commission Report.