Banff & Buchan MP calls for absolute clarity over welfare

Eilidh Whiteford has been re-selected for the General Election campaign on May 5.
Eilidh Whiteford has been re-selected for the General Election campaign on May 5.

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford said that Scotland needs ‘absolute clarity’ from the UK Government over changes to welfare.

The SNP’s Westminster Spokesperson for Social Justice, Work and Pensions, singled out Secretary of State David Mundell, saying that he has failed to guarantee that there would be no ‘claw back’ of payments made by the Scottish Government to mitigate welfare cuts.

Dr Whiteford said: “We need absolute clarity from the UK Government that if the Scottish Government tops up a benefit it will not be clawed back by Westminster. David Mundell failed to answer that.”

Reflecting on the debate on the Scotland Bill at the House of Commons on Monday, November 10, she added: “It was a huge disappointment to all those people watching and hoping for the Vow to be delivered.

“Whilst I welcome the changes the government is belatedly bringing forward, all the flowery rhetoric in the world won’t hide the fact that this Scotland Bill still falls some way short of the Smith Commission proposals.

“More than that, it still falls a long way short of the promises made to the people of Scotland.

“The SNP amendments in this group would have significantly strengthened the bill, and brought it closer to the expectations and aspirations of the people who voted in unprecedented numbers for real powers and meaningful change.”

David Mundell did not respond to attempts to contact him by the Herald, but a UK Government spokesperson said: “We are delivering Smith in full and the Smith Agreement was very clear. We are not in the business of removing top-up benefits, so we would not want to reduce reserved benefits in order to set-off any extra money provided by the Scottish Government.”