Standing up for Scotland: Fighting for progressive change at Westminster

In the last Westminster Parliament, SNP MPs passed the first ever SNP Private Members Bill – aimed at combating violence against women and domestic violence.

In 2017, we promised that by re-electing a strong group of SNP MPs, we would continue to use our influence to help deliver more progressive change.

So, working with campaigners and other parties from across the UK, that is exactly what SNP MPs have been doing. Here’s how:

Refugees Family Reunion Bill

Angus Brendan MacNeil MP

Angus Brendan MacNeil MP has led the campaign to end the UK government’s harsh and regressive immigration rules that all to often split up refugee families and denies them the right to be reunited in the UK.

The Bill would also reintroduce legal aid, so refugees who have lost everything have the support they need to navigate the complicated legal processes.

The Bill has already secured cross-party support from MPs of every party in the House of Commons, and has also been backed by the Refugee Council, the UN Refugee Agency, Amnesty International, the British Red Cross and Oxfam GB.

In Scotland, the Scottish Government has repeatedly called on the UK government to step up to its responsibility and to take in its fair share of refugees to resettle. At the end of last year, the Scottish Government welcomed its 2,000th Syrian refugee to the country – meeting our target of resettling refugees three years ahead of schedule.

Ban Unpaid Trial Shifts

Stewart McDonald MP

The use of unpaid trial shifts is growing in the UK and some employers now require new recruits to work without pay for a ‘trial period’. This is often exploitative to young workers and migrants.

Stewart McDonald MP’s Bill, would ban these exploitative unpaid trial shifts and require that all workers be paid for the work they do during trial periods, regardless of whether or not a full offer of employment is provided at the end of them.

The proposed ban has received cross-party support from MPs and has also been backed by Unite, the STUC and the Good Law Project.

Read more about our plans to end exploitative work here.

Universal Credit Assistance Bill

Philippa Whitford MP

Dr Philippa Whitford MP has used her Private Members Bill to try and address one of the major problems facing the roll-out of Universal Credit – the UK government’s insistence on single payments.

The policy of paying Universal Credit into one bank account per recipient household has seen domestic violence charities raise real concerns that Universal Credit could keep women or men trapped in abusive relationships. In addition, paying the combined benefits of a couple into a single bank account could prevent funds reaching those who need it, such as children.

Philippa Whitford’s Bill would compel the UK government to make Universal Credit payments to the individual and force them to carry out detailed equality impact assessments on their welfare changes; something they have recklessly chosen not to do, despite research showing women have borne the brunt of 86 per cent of their cuts.

The Scottish Government’s Social Security Minister, Jeane Freeman MSP, has repeatedly said that we want to make these changes immediately in Scotland, but we lack the powers to do so as they are reserved to Westminster. If the UK government aren’t willing to make these changes, then they should devolve the powers so we can do it for them.

Read more about Philippa Whitford’s Bill here.