Scottish independence: Experts chosen to draw up Scots welfare plans
THE potential structure of a welfare system in an independent Scotland is to be considered by a group set up by the SNP administration.
Its members will look at benefit payments and make recommendations about how the regime can reflect “Scottish values”, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.
“The announcement of the expert group is the first step on the journey towards creating a welfare system which will support the economy and society of an independent Scotland,” she said.
“The group brings together a wide range of interests and, importantly, people who will provide a meaningful perspective on Scottish Government plans for our nation’s welfare system following a successful independence vote.
“A fairer welfare system for Scotland can only be achieved with independence and control over all welfare policies, so that we can devise policies for the benefit of the Scottish people, that reflect Scottish values.”
The UK government will cut support for families and low-earners in Scotland by about £210 million, on top of reductions already set out by the Department for Work and Pensions, said Ms Sturgeon, who leads the Scottish Government’s push for independence.
The new group includes people involved in public-sector delivery, social policy, accountancy and economics.
They are Darra Singh, a director with Ernst and Young; Martyn Evans, chief executive of the charitable organisation Carnegie Trust; Douglas Griffin, a former finance director at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde; and Professor Mike Brewer, a research fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, University of Essex.
The group is expected to prepare a report by May.
Labour MP Margaret Curran, the shadow Scottish secretary, said the country was trapped between two governments with the wrong priorities.
A spokesman for the Scotland Office said: “This year will see the independence debate move firmly on to the issues of substance, and people in Scotland will expect hard facts from those proposing independence on how it would affect them.”