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MINISTERS DUCK RESPONSIBILITY FOR UNCLAIMED PENSION CREDIT.

MINISTERS DUCK RESPONSIBILITY FOR UNCLAIMED PENSION CREDIT.
 
The UK government failed to answer when SNP MP Patricia Gibson asked what action it would take to ensure all pensioners eligible for Pension Credit claim it.
 
Almost 2 million people aged 65 and over are living in poverty in the UK, yet since 2017 the UK Government has retained £7 billion worth of unclaimed Pension Credit  – the income-related benefit specifically designed to lift pensioners out of poverty.
 
It is estimated that Scottish pensioners are missing out on £332 million worth of pension credit payments. Independent Age, the older people’s charity, attributes this to the Tory government’s failure to act.
 
Commenting, Patricia Gibson, MP for North Ayrshire and Arran, said:
 
“It is scandalous that in my constituency alone, over £7 million of Pension Credit payments remain unclaimed and therefore retained by the Treasury – the UK government must take urgent action to ensure those eligible for the benefit get it instead of kicking the can down the road.
 
“We are witnessing a rise in pensioner poverty due to harmful Tory austerity cuts yet the Tories continue to add fuel to the fire by slashing pension credit, reneging on their manifesto commitment to keep TV licenses free for over-75s and maintaining the lowest pension in the developed world.
 
“Pensioners in Scotland deserve better than these constant attacks from the Tories. The only way to ensure Scotland’s older people live with the dignity and respect they deserve is with independence.”
 
Patricia Gibson MP’s question can be found here –  https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-06-27/debates/F2E96369-6448-4E58-AA9D-8C483C7461C6/BusinessOfTheHouse
 
Scottish pensioners ‘missing out on £332 million in benefits’ –  https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/scottish-pensioners-missing-out-332-17269913
 
A million pensioners in poverty because of unclaimed pension credit – https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jun/26/a-million-pensioners-in-poverty-because-of-unclaimed-benefits

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TORIES THREATEN TO SLASH SCOTLAND’S FUNDING.

TORIES THREATEN TO SLASH SCOTLAND’S FUNDING. 
 
BORIS JOHNSON REFUSES TO RULE OUT AXING BARNETT FORMULA
 
The SNP has demanded the Tories immediately rule out widescale funding cuts for public services in Scotland – after Boris Johnson refused to dismiss the spectre of axing the Barnett Formula.
 
The Tory leadership candidate has previously described promises from Westminster to keep the Barnett Formula as “reckless” – falsely claiming that “the English taxpayer sends about £20 billion every year to Scotland as a kind of present”.
 
Today, Boris Johnson also declared that he plans to ensure any future Tory Prime Minister will also become the Minister for the Union – in a bid to ensure Scotland stays within the UK.
 
Commenting, SNP MSP Tom Arthur said:
 
“It is outrageous that the Tories are now plotting to use Brexit as an opportunity to railroad systematic cuts to Scotland’s budget – offering a grim insight into what Scotland can expect from the next Tory Prime Minister.
 
“The Tories have longed for the opportunity to hammer Scotland’s budget for years – but the people of Scotland won’t stand by while Westminster politicians plot to cut money from our vital public services to fund their disastrous no-deal Brexit.
 
“Yet again the mask has slipped and fatally undermined the Tories’ attempts to portray themselves as working in Scotland’s best interests.
 
“Boris Johnson’s latest scheme to appoint the next Tory leader as Minister of the Union is simply laughable – voters will see this meaningless gimmick for what it is.
 
“With the hard right-wing of the Tory party threatening to axe the Barnett Formula and slaughter Scotland’s public services it’s time to take our future into our own hands.
 
“More and more voters are ready to choose a different path to secure a brighter vision for a better Scotland.”
 
https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17739117.jeremy-hunt-i-back-the-barnett-formula-and-so-should-boris/
 
Johnson said that the Barnett Formula was a “slightly reckless promise”. https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17665296.boris-johnson-under-pressureover-attacks-on-scotlands-public-spending/
 
In 2009, Boris Johnson said the Barnett Formula is a “system of amazing political antiquity by which the English taxpayer sends about pounds 20 billion every year to Scotland as a kind of present”. https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17665296.boris-johnson-under-pressureover-attacks-on-scotlands-public-spending/
 
In 2006, Johnson said “It is becoming clearer and clearer to people that they are being short-changed. The Barnett formula is producing deeply inequitable outcomes”. https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17665296.boris-johnson-underpressure-over-attacks-on-scotlands-public-spending/
 
Johnson infamously alleged a “pound spent in Croydon or Tottenham, the areas hit by the riots last year, will generate far more for the rest of the economy than a pound spent in Strathclyde.” He later added to this by saying “If it causes Celtic wailing, then I’m willing to go there and make the case that it’s right for them too”. https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17665296.boris-johnson-under-pressureover-attacks-on-scotlands-public-spending/

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JEREMY, BORIS TWO PEAS IN A POD

JEREMY, BORIS TWO PEAS IN A POD.

TORY PM CANDIDATES AGREE ON 98% OF ISSUES.
 
Research by the SNP has found the two Tory candidates to become the next Prime Minister have far more in common than they’d like you to know – voting the same way on 98% of issues in Westminster over recent years.
 
Both Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson have committed to deliver a no-deal Brexit that promises to wipe out jobs and businesses and hammer household incomes in Scotland.
 
But the pair have also teamed up to pass devastating cuts to welfare support for disabled and ill claimants, vote in favour of harsh caps on the housing benefit received by working families and give the green light to laws stripping the right for EU nationals to remain in their homes.  
 
Their voting record also includes:
 

  • 2015: Both voted to reduce the household benefit cap, freeze the rate of working-age benefits and reduce the number of social rents in England.
  • 2015: Both voted against allowing those aged sixteen and seventeen to vote in the EU referendum.
  • 2016: Both voted against giving asylum seekers permission to work if a decision on their application is extended.
  • 2016: Both voted for reductions in benefits for disabled and ill claimants – and required them to participate in activities intended to increase their chances of obtaining work.
  • 2016: Both voted to support replacing the four Trident nuclear missile submarines, maintaining weapons of mass destruction in Scotland against the wishes of a majority of Scotland’s MSPs and MPs.
  • 2017: Both voted to remove the rights of EU citizens and their family members who were lawfully resident in the UK.
  • 2018: Both voted to bypass the Scottish Parliament on the EU Withdrawal Bill.

 
Commenting, SNP MSP Gail Ross said:
 
“Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are two peas in a pod – voting alongside one another at almost every opportunity to inflict a decade of damaging austerity.  
 
“Jeremy Hunt would have you believe that he’s the polar opposite of Boris Johnson – but it’s just a wafer thin façade.
 
“The reality is that they’re carbon copy hard-line Tories – both voting to impose cold, cruel and heartless policies.
 
“They were happy to sit side by side while their party slashed the incomes of working families, stripped the rights of EU citizens and brought the NHS to its knees.
 
“Neither Jeremy Hunt nor Boris Johnson is fit to be Prime Minister. People deserve better than this dangerous double act – it’s time for Scotland to decide its own future.”   

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SUPPORT FOR NEW SCOTTISH CHILD PAYMENT.

SUPPORT FOR NEW SCOTTISH CHILD PAYMENT

NEW BENEFIT DUBBED “GAME CHANGER” AND “LIFELINE”

The Scottish Government’s announcement that it will use new social security powers to introduce a new benefit to tackle child poverty has been roundly welcomed by poverty campaigners, who have branded it a “game changer” and a “lifeline” for families in poverty.

The Scottish Child Payment will be £10 weekly to low income families.

Brian Hunter, Dadscare chairman; We love this move, £10 might not seem a lot of money but its been given to some of the poorest families in the land well done to the Scottish Goverment, great idea.

John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland: “This new payment is an absolute game changer in the fight to end child poverty. £10 a week for each child will make a real difference to families struggling to put food on the table, heat their homes and pay for the ordinary school trips, sport and other activities that are fundamental to a decent childhood.  Today’s announcement is a landmark recognition of the role the Scottish social security system can play in ending child poverty. It’s now vital that the UK government follows suit and starts to use its powers in an equally positive way and scraps the universal credit two child limit and the UK benefit freeze, so that government at every level works together to protect children from poverty.”

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance: “Amid a rising tide of poverty, the new Scottish Child Payment will act as a lifeline for families struggling to stay afloat. An additional £10 per week will help unlock tens of thousands of children from poverty and underlines the important role that Scottish social security powers have to address poverty. The early introduction of the new payment in 2020/21 for families with children under six is particularly welcome, and shows what can be done when there is political will to address poverty.

“As a society that believes in justice and compassion, with a Parliament that has unanimously supported action to tackle poverty, today is an important milestone. Those who experience poverty, and the organisations that support them, have been listened to and action is being taken. Today has shown that we can use our social security powers for a purpose; loosening the grip of poverty on people’s lives.”

Naomi Eisenstadt, First Minister’s former Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality: “The best way to help children out of poverty is to get money into parents’ pockets so I am absolutely delighted that the Scottish Government is introducing the Scottish Child Payment.”

Russell Gunnson, Director of IPPR Scotland: “This is really welcome news. The Scottish Government has followed many of our recommendations on what a child poverty payment should prioritise, and listened to the strong voice of anti-poverty organisations across Scotland.”

Jim McCormick, Associate Director (Scotland), Joseph Rowntree Foundation: “Scottish Child Payment offers a golden opportunity to make progress in solving child poverty

“We have heard from people across Scotland that the introduction of this new payment will be a lifeline for families currently trapped in poverty. Today’s statement will be welcome news for hundreds of thousands of children. £10 for a child in poverty can mean being able to buy fresher food, or go on a school trip, or have enough warm clothes. Fast-tracking the introduction of this new payment is absolutely the right thing to do and is a golden opportunity to make meaningful progress in solving child poverty in Scotland.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Scottish Government as well as families to design a system that works for them, and which offers the certainty needed to enable every family in Scotland to achieve a better life.”

SallyAnn Kelly, CEO of Aberlour: “Today’s announcement by the Scottish Government on the introduction of the new Scottish Child Payment of £10 per child per week is a welcome one, and we are pleased the government have heard and listened to the many organisations, campaigners and those with experience of poverty who collectively called for this. Introducing this new payment early for families with children aged 6 and under by 2020/21 is an important step towards improving the lives of the 240,000 children in Scotland living in poverty right now. We know the single biggest thing that will help lift struggling families out of poverty is to make sure they have more money in their pockets and this new payment will provide a vital lifeline to many families, as well as help prevent against the associated toxic stress and consequential adversity we see effecting families across Scotland every day. This new payment is not a silver bullet to fix child poverty, but it is a significant start.”

Craig Samuel, Scotland representative for National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers (NAWRA): “Scottish Child Payment is being introduced and I am delighted that campaigning by NAWRA and others has been recognised with thanks going to the main protagonists. I on behalf of NAWRA am delighted that the Cabinet Secretary Aileen Campbell has listened and addressed child poverty in Scotland earlier than planned given it continues to increase for so many children and families who should be enjoying their childhoods. The introduction of our Scottish Child Payment will see over 400,000 children be entitled by 2022 as planned however we asked for an earlier introduction than 2022 and this will happen for families with children aged under 6 by 2021 which hopefully will see them lifted from the grip of poverty and get to enjoy positive childhood experiences and get to enjoy education, god willing be healthy and realise their ambitions that were previously unaffordable especially if we want to create a Scotland that is equal for all and I look forward to ensuring take up is achieved as set out in our Social Security (Scotland) Bill”

Marion Davis, Head of Policy and Strategy at OPFS: “We are absolutely delighted that Scottish Government has listened to parents about the pressures they are under and is bringing forward a new Scottish Child Payment for families on a low income. We are particularly pleased that there will be no cap on the number of children entitled to support through the new Scottish Child Payment. We have worked closely with Social Security Scotland to involve parents in removing barriers to claiming the new Best Start Grant. We look forward to enabling parents help influence the application process to ensure maximum take-up of this vital new benefit. We call on the Westminster Government to add to this positive policy by removing the 2 child limit on social security for families and to end the benefit cap which traps so many children in poverty.”

A Menu for Change: “This is huge. Delighted that @scotgov has responded to calls we and others across Scotland have made for urgent action to boost family incomes. The Scottish Child Payment will put vital cash in the pockets of families struggling to put food on the table”.

Emma Congreve, Senior Economist at Joseph Rowntree: “A new Scottish Child Payment being announced right now by @scotgov. Will make a significant different to child poverty and we can’t afford not to do this. So pleased this is happening!”

Child Poverty Action Group: “We hugely welcome the announcement from @scotgov that an income supplement will be brought forward. This new payment is an absolute game changer in the fight to end child poverty #KidsCan’t Wait”

Poverty Alliance: “We’re delighted that Cab Sec @ClydesdAileen has listened to our calls to bring forward the introduction of a new income supplement. An additional £10 per week will help unlock tens of thousands of children from poverty.”

Citizen’s Advice Scotland: “The new Scottish child payment is a step in the right direction. It’s essential that families who are entitled to this benefit claim it,and everything else they are entitled to.”

Oxfam Scotland: “This is welcome news. The Scottish Child Payment will be a lifeline for families across Scotland who are being dragged into poverty. We joined 70 others in calling for an income top-up to be fast-tracked and are pleased ministers have listened. Putting cash in the pockets of struggling families will help many stay afloat and today’s announcement is very welcome news.”

One Parent Families Scotland: “This will make a real difference to the many families in Scotland who are struggling on low benefits that haven’t kept pace with inflation.”

NHS Children Young People and Families: “We welcome today’s announcement from @ScotGov on the #IncomeSupplement. This will make a difference to our families with children living on a low income. #FairerHealthier #KidsCantWait

Business in the Community Scotland: “A welcome move from @ScotGov who listened to the organisations, campaigners and those with experience of poverty in acting swiftly to bring forward the delivery of the new income supplement for those most vulnerable in Scotland living in the grip of poverty #KidsCantWait

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TAX HIKE ON HOME SOLAR.

TAX HIKE ON HOME SOLAR

The Tories must press pause on their plans to quadruple the VAT charged on home solar systems – which SNP MSP Gillian Martin has said could be a “major step backwards” in reaching green targets. 

The UK government this week introduced legislation to increase the VAT levied on home solar-battery systems from 5% to 20%.

The Renewable Energy Association warned that this would create a “barrier” to new installations and contradicted the UK government’s climate change targets. 

The UK government this month accepted a target of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, 5 years later than the Scottish Government’s target. 

Commenting, SNP MSP Gillian Martin said:

“Renewable energy is a vital part of reaching our climate change targets, with home solar having a huge amount of potential.

“Quadrupling the VAT bill faced by those installing these systems could be a major step backwards in encouraging households to lower their carbon footprints. 

“The Tories must press pause on these plans and stop undermining our transition to renewables.

HMRC pushes steep VAT increase for new solar-battery systems
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/24/hmrc-pushes-massive-vat-increase-for-new-solar-battery-systems

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Scottish Care Review Body.

Scottish Care Review Body.

Scottish Care Review Body.

Scottish Care Review Body has been setup to look at how child protection of Children in Scotland is run and being operated and other things as well, petition 1673 looks at these problems and offers sensible solutions but Scottish Social Work disagrees the question is WHY?

 

PE01673: Operation and running of child protection services in Scotland

Scottish Care Review Body.

Petitioner: James Mackie

Status:

Lodged

Date Lodged: 18 September 2017

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to create an independent, QC-led inquiry into the operation and running of child protection services in Scotland.

Petition History:

Summary:

23 November 2017: The Committee agreed to join the petitions PE1673 and PE1675 together for future consideration and to write to the Scottish Government. Link to Official Report 23 November 2017

10 May 2018: In relation to PE1673, the Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Children’s Reporters Administration, the Association of Directors of Social Work, Who Cares? Scotland and Circle Scotland. The Committee also agreed to close PE1675 under Rule 15.7 of Standing Orders on the basis that the Scottish Government has set out its view of the importance of a child or young person having a right to take part in decisions affecting them; that there are procedures in place to allow the excusal of a child or young person; and that the Government remains open to reviewing whether the current balance and tests are right for children and young people with work being taken forward by the Children’s Hearings Improvement Partnership. Link to Official Report 10 May 2018

25 October 2018: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister for Childcare and Early Years. The Committee also agreed to draw the petition to the attention of the Care Review, chaired by Fiona Duncan. Link to Official Report 25 October 2018

Written submissions:

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TORY CUTS THREATEN TO CLOSE 2500 POST OFFICE BRANCHES.

TORY CUTS THREATEN TO CLOSE 2500 POST OFFICE BRANCHES

SNP DEMAND UK GOVERNMENT PROTECT POST OFFICE NETWORK

The SNP has demanded the UK government properly fund the Post Office network for the future, after successive Tory policies now threaten the future of 2,500 branches across the UK according to the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters.

The UK government Post Office Minister is expected to appear at the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee today (Tuesday), where SNP will raise the future of the Post Office Subsidy. Nearly 2,500 Post Offices are threatened to close as a result of successive cuts from the UK government.

The Post Office Subsidy was put in place to ensure the Post Office network remains there to provide vital services to local communities, particularly to rural areas. The Tories have already drastically reduced the Subsidy, with its future existence now under threat, and have failed to make any commitment to protecting the Post Office network.

Speaking ahead of the evidence session, committee member Drew Hendry MP said:

“With Tory cuts threatening to close 2,500 branches across the network, it’s more important than ever that the UK government put up the funding to secure the Post Office network and commit to funding the Post Office Subsidy, protecting the service for the future.

“It is now imperative that the UK government steps in to ensure that vital services that the Post Office network offers, which so many people rely on, are not lost. Initiatives like the Post Office Subsidy were put in place to protect local communities especially in rural areas – this fund is now threatened by deeper Tory cuts.

“The local Post Office plays a huge role in public life – it is both a symbol of the community and a lifeline on everything from pensions and benefits to vital day-to-day banking services.

“In many small and rural towns in Scotland, like those in my own constituency, the local Post Office is the last place where a face-to-face service is available, making it essential for the elderly and those with additional support needs.

Communities face the loss of 2,500 post offices unless action taken say campaigners.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/communities-face-catastrophic-loss-2500-16170831

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The Brexit, Farage connection!

The Brexit, Farage connection!

Did you think Brexit started three years ago? Maybe this will bring it home that it has been going on for twenty six years (26 years)…and it was brought to fruition in 1993.

In 1993 the Tory party got Tory MP Michael Spicer to set up a “leave Europe” Tory party policy unit, party within the party, called European Research Group (ERG) – and they have been funding it using taxpayers money – by getting MP’s to donate money and then claim it back as “expenses” from taxpayers.

The same Tory Party’s ERG have used TAXPAYERS money for Tory party coordination with centre-right opposition across Europe, including, UKIP, since 1993 (the year UKIP was set up) – without taxpayers knowledge.

If this is news to you, then you read it here first! Share it with your friends.

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MSPs BACK PLANS TO MAKE SCOTLAND SAFER.

MSPs BACK PLANS TO MAKE SCOTLAND SAFER.

TORY MSPs PREOCCUPIED WITH “OUTDATED” JUSTICE ARGUMENTS

The SNP has taken another step towards the development of a smart, progressive justice system – as MSPs at Holyrood backed plans to extend the presumption against short sentences from three months to twelve months or less.

The proposals received support from Holyrood’s Justice Committee in a report published this morning, with all parties except the Tories backing the plans.

Despite the UK government admitting that there is “conclusive evidence” that replacing short prison sentences with community sentences reduces reoffending, Tory MSPs have attacked the approach as “soft touch.”

Tory ministers have consistently praised the Scottish Government’s approach to justice, with Rory Stewart MP saying “we have a lot to learn from Scotland, specifically on community sentences,” and David Gauke MP warning “there is a false choice between the narrow […] discussion about ‘soft’ justice versus ‘hard’ justice.”

SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth said:

“This report agrees that short-term imprisonment is often ineffective at reducing re-offending.

“Ministers in England have consistently praised Scotland’s smarter, progressive approach to justice. Yet in Scotland, the Tories insist on sniping at these reforms from the side-lines.

“Rather than being preoccupied with outdated arguments over “hard” or “soft” sentencing, the SNP’s aim is to develop an approach to criminal justice that tackles the underlying causes of crime.

“We are focused on developing a justice system which rehabilitates offenders, so that they can make a positive contribution to society.

“Our record on justice speaks for itself, and it’s frankly disappointing that the Tories in Scotland can’t agree with their Westminster colleagues that the SNP is leading the way in tackling the revolving door to our prisons.”

more info;

Presumption Against Short Periods of Imprisonment (Scotland) Order 2019
https://sp-bpr-en-prod-cdnep.azureedge.net/published/J/2019/6/21/Presumption-Against-Short-Periods-of-Imprisonment--Scotland–Order-2019/JS052019R14.pdf

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CURSE OF RUTH DAVIDSON STRIKES AGAIN.

CURSE OF RUTH DAVIDSON STRIKES AGAIN.

DAVIDSON BACKS LOSER IN RACE FOR NUMBER 10.

The “curse of Ruth Davidson” has struck again as her preferred candidate Sajid Javid was knocked out of the Tory leadership race.

The embarrassed Scots Tory leader, who has been ignored by her own MPs throughout the contest, also saw her views rejected by an overwhelming majority of Tory MPs.

She is now supporting Michael Gove, who is currently depriving Scotland’s farmers of £160m of EU funding they are entitled to.

George Adam MSP said:

“The curse of Ruth Davidson strikes again.

“She’s now got some run of form in backing the loser.

“Ruth Davidson hitched her wagon to Sajid Javid’s doomed campaign and, embarrassingly, couldn’t get a single one of her MPs to support him.

“Two weeks ago she took a daytrip to the Peterborough by-election and, true to form, helped rubber stamp another Tory defeat.

“Now that she’s backing Gove, even if he beats Jeremy Hunt, Boris Johnson’s odds will go even higher.

“Ruth Davidson used to be seen as a major figure in the Tory party. Now she’s become a complete irrelevance.

“A hardliner whose lies she once called out is about to become her new boss, and the next Prime Minister. That will be an unmitigated disaster for all of us.”