Green MSP pushes for progressive welfare policies

Wednesday September 7th 2016

Alison Johnstone Green Party Lothian MSP

Green MSP Alison Johnstone has written to the First Minister offering support for the Scottish Government to adopt progressive welfare policies using powers newly devolved to Holyrood.

Johnstone has also asked for an update on the government’s implementation of the Scottish Greens’ policy pledge for a Young Carer Allowance.

Lothian MSP Alison Johnstone said:

“As of this week, Holyrood will be able to create entirely new benefits and also to top-up the value of benefits that are reserved, such as Jobseeker’s Allowance. The Scottish Government has made a promising start, particularly in correcting some of the blind spots of the current system by pledging to create new benefits. Shortly after the election earlier this year, the First Minister pledged to consider the Scottish Green Party election pledge of a Young Carer Allowance.

“It’s important the Scottish Government continues to explore the possibilities of the new powers. Whilst these proposals for new benefits are very welcome, it is the benefit top-up powers that present one of the most exciting opportunities for Scotland to chart a different, fairer course in social security.

“For years, both the Scottish Government and the Scottish Greens have criticised the UK government for cutting support for those most in need. Up until now, that’s all that we’ve been able to do: criticise. But from today, we can do something about it.

“Whether by out-and-out cuts like the shameful impending £30 reduction to Employment Support Allowance, or by secretive changes to the way rates are calculated, we no longer have to accept that Scots will be worse off.”

In August, the Scottish Greens published a report showing that 13,000 people a year could soon face benefit sanctions through employment programmes devolved to Scotland. The party also launched a petition calling for a new welfare system in Scotland that eliminates the need for sanctions.

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