Johann Lamont last night signalled Labour would support the Scottish Parliament taking control over housing benefit.
The Scottish Labour leader indicated she backed the move that would enable Holyrood to scrap the so-called bedroom tax.
Speaking at a lecture hosted by the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Young Academy of Scotland and the David Hume Institute, Ms Lamont said: “Some people say we don’t want all welfare devolved, there are bits of it that would make sense.
“A very simple example is access to housing benefit, which can be an inhibitor to people getting into work. We also know that housing benefit can be exploited by rogue landlords, who drag people into poverty and are then not able to get access to work that’s available.”
Ms Lamont’s comments gave an indication of what can be expected in the spring, when Labour unveils its devolution commission – which will play a key role in determining what powers will be on offer in the event of a No vote.
She gave her view in a Q&A session after a speech, in which she claimed the best way of redistributing wealth created in the City of London was by remaining part of the UK.
The Labour leader said Scotland was in a union of five with England, Wales, Northern Ireland – and London.
She said the UK provided the machinery to help the disadvantaged by redistributing wealth from the British capital to impoverished areas.
Ms Lamont argued that improving Scotland’s future should be about closing the divide between rich and poor, rather than creating divisions over national identity.
“I believe wealth should be redistributed to where it is needed,” she said. “I think one of the best ways we do this is through the United Kingdom.
“The UK is not just made up of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. I believe that we live in a union of five – Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the remarkable international city state of London.”