Clare asked a question on social security plans

Question Lodged (S5O-00611) 25/01/2017

Clare asked:

To ask the Scottish Government whether it is confident that the UK Government will lay its commencement order in time for the Scottish Government to take forward its social security plans.’

Taken in Chamber – Answered by Jeane Freedman MSP 01/02/2017

Jeane Freedman MSP responded:

The joint ministerial working group on welfare, which comprises ministerial representatives from the Scottish Government, the Scotland Office and the Department for Work and Pensions, agreed at its most recent meeting on 11 October 2016 that the UK Government would work with the Scottish Government to transfer legislative competence by June 2017. That agreement is reflected in the published minutes of that meeting, and in all our discussions with the UK Government and the DWP since then we have been very clear that we expect the timetable to be adhered to.

Assuming that the commencement order is laid according to that timetable, we will introduce our social security bill to the Scottish Parliament by the end of this parliamentary year. Work on the bill is proceeding on the basis of that clear and unequivocal agreement.

Follow Up Question Asked in Chamber 01/02/2017

 Clare asked:

Does the minister agree that it is the DWP that is responsible for the progress and delay of commencement of the relevant sections of the Scotland Act 2016, and that because the timetable is imperative in ensuring safe and secure transition of the powers, the DWP must take responsibility for the timetable, as it stands?

Follow Up Answer  Delivered in Chamber 01/02/2017

Jeane Freedman MSP responded:

Clare Haughey is right that both Governments have a role in the exercise. The UK Government and the DWP are wholly and solely responsible for laying the necessary commencement order, which will allow the Scottish Government to meet our commitment to introduce a social security bill before the end of the current parliamentary year. That responsibility, naturally, extends not only to progress but to delay. However, we have not been talking to the UK Government and the DWP about delay; we have been talking to them about adhering to the timetable that we agreed in that joint ministerial working group. That said, safe and secure transfer of vital benefits that ensures that no payment is missed and that no recipient has to go without, requires that a large-scale programme of work be carried out jointly by the Scottish and UK Governments and the DWP. In delivering that, we will be accountable to the Scottish Parliament and the people of Scotland; I am sure that the UK Government and the DWP accept that they will be accountable for their parts.

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