SNP should ‘do a Hammond’ over Named Person scheme - Sillars

Jim Sillars thinks the Scottish Government should drop their Named Person scheme. Picture: SWNS
Jim Sillars thinks the Scottish Government should drop their Named Person scheme. Picture: SWNS
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The government has been urged to abandon moves to bring back plans for a named person for all children in Scotland.

The controversial scheme was derailed when the UK Supreme Court ruled the legislation was not competent over the prospect of personal data being widely shared among schools, the NHS and social workers.

Former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars warned yesterday that education secretary John Swinney will face a backlash from Scottish parents if he presses ahead with plans to revise the plans and reintroduce them next year.

• READ MORE: Revealed: what can happen when a Named Person reports on your children

Instead he said the Deputy First Minister should “do a Hammond” and ditch the plans as Chancellor Philip Hammond did with his controversial National Insurance hike for the self-employed in the recent Budget. Speaking at a conference organised by the No to Named Persons group (NO2NP), Mr Sillars also encouraged campaigners to lobby SNP backbenchers to defy ministers over fresh legislation aimed at getting the scheme up and running next year.

He said: “My advice would be to do a Hammond. Last week the government at Westminster was in a hole. It had the brains to stop digging and my advice to this government is this isn’t going to work.

“This is going to be a punishment on you over the years ahead. Stop digging, get out the hole and abandon it.”

Mr Sillars insisted that bringing in the scheme “would sour relations between the SNP government and millions of people”.

• READ MORE: John Swinney puts Named Person plans on hold for second time

Under the scheme, a single point of contact, such as a teacher or health visitor would be appointed to look out for the welfare of all children up to the age of 18.

The government was forced to halt its roll-out – due to come into effect across Scotland in August 2016 – after it was challenged in the courts by NO2NP campaigners.

Judges at the UK Supreme Court ruled last year that elements of the policy were “incompatible’’ with the right to privacy and family life as set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “As the Deputy First Minister has made clear to Parliament, the Scottish Government remains absolutely committed to the named-person service as a way to support children and young people by working in partnership with them and with families.”