Westminster pressured on welfare reform questions

Welfare Reform Committee deputy convener Jamie Hepburn has piled pressure on the UK Government about 21 unanswered questions raised by a homelessness organisation.

The Scottish Council for Single Homeless (SCSH) says its staff and service users are still unsure about what Westminster’s reforms will mean in practice.

The SCSH raised 21 questions with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) addressing issues including debts, employment and relationship breakdowns but have not had a sufficient reply.

Mr Hepburn, who has lodged a motion urging for cross-party support for the DWP to respond to the questions and concerns raised, said:

“Not only has the UK Government hammered disabled people, the young, pensioners and families, but it has failed to address the questions and concerns that have been raised.

“I am urging for cross-party support so as to get the Department of Work and Pensions to respond to the 21 unanswered questions.

“The SNP Government has stepped in to protect people in Scotland in all devolved benefits – highlighting why Scotland should have the full powers of an independent country.

“What the anti-independence parties must answer is why we are better together with a Tory government pursuing cruel welfare cuts, made by a government not voted for by the people of Scotland.”

Mr Hepburn, SNP MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, said:

“Tory ideology goes against SNP policy – an independent Scotland would not have made decisions to hammer vulnerable people.

“But until we get a Yes vote in 2014, the UK government must respond to these concerns raised by the Scottish Council for Single Homeless.

“This organisation does fantastic work to prevent and tackle homelessness – and any concerns raised by such a body must be addressed.”

Copy of Mr Hepburn’s motion: Short Title: Unanswered Questions Surrounding Welfare Reform

S4M-03646 Jamie Hepburn () (Scottish National Party): That the Parliament notes with concern the 21 questions regarding the UK Government’s welfare reforms raised by the Scottish Council for Single Homeless (SCSH) with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), questions that SCSH has previously raised with the DWP and, in SCSH's view, have not been adequately addressed; notes that SCSH reports that staff and service users remain unsure about what the reforms will mean in practice; considers that this highlights the confusion that still surrounds the implications of many aspects of the welfare reforms, and calls on the DWP to respond to the questions and concerns raised by SCSH.

The SCSH’s 21 unanswered questions can be found at http://gallery.mailchimp.com/e53a4a1e7fa541430ede99e3f/files/1._Welfare_...