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Welfare Reform Bill
A new Bill has been published to ensure that devolved policies such as the provision of free school meals and blue badge parking will continue to operate in Scotland after changes are made to the UK benefit system.
Westminster is bringing forward changes to the welfare system which the Scottish Government believes will adversely affect vulnerable people in Scotland. As the welfare system is largely reserved to the UK Government Scottish Ministers cannot block reform.
However, as the Scottish Parliament in December voted against a Westminster legislative consent motion the Scottish Government is required to bring forward legislation to maintain devolved policies such as free school meals and concessionary travel.
The Welfare Reform (Further Provision) Bill, published recently, will ensure that the legislative framework which supports the provision of these ‘passported benefits’ will not be adversely affected by the Westminster Government’s changes.
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:
“We want to see a welfare system that is simpler, makes work pay and lifts people out of poverty. But the UK Government’s approach represents deep and damaging cuts to benefits and services that will impact on some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland. The Scottish Government and Parliament have spoken loud and clear about these long-standing concerns.
“Because Westminster is determined to introduce these reforms, the Scottish Government is required to bring forward legislation which will enable us to maintain successful policies in Scotland like free school meals and concessionary travel, which are linked to the UK benefits system.
“The Welfare Reform (Further Provision) Bill will give us the necessary framework to do so.”