Tag Archives: Scottish

Hated disability ‘benefit’ to be replaced in Scotland – with no dreaded face-to-face assessments

Meanwhile, in England and Wales: it’s not quite this bad but the death toll suggests it might as well be.

It’s easy to understand why the Scottish National Party is so popular north of the border – it actually fulfils its promises.

For example: it is replacing the hated Tory Personal Independence Payment for people living with disabilities.

The new Adult Disability Payment will be phased in next year, providing financial support to cover the extra costs faced by people with disabilities.

The SNP-run Scottish government has announced that the benefit will take a new approach, to ensure dignity, fairness and respect.

According to the Daily Record:

Social Security Scotland will make decisions about entitlement for ADP using the applicant’s account of their circumstances and existing supporting information, where possible.

The number of face-to-face assessments will be significantly reduced and will only be necessary when it is the only practicable way to make a decision.

Most consultations will be carried out over the phone, but can be face-to-face in a GP surgery or even at home – whatever works best for the person applying.

And claimants will no longer be asked to carry out tasks to demonstrate how their disability, long-term illness or mental health condition affects them as part of the application process.

This promises to be a huge improvement. Also helpful will be the provision of supporting material which may include a social care needs assessment, a report from a Community Psychiatric Nurse, and information from a carer.

As a carer myself, This Writer would have loved to be able to submit information to support Mrs Mike’s PIP (and ESA) claims.

But anything can seem good before it has actually been tested.

I would like to hear from claimants of the new benefit, once it starts coming in. Let’s hope they say good things about it.

Source: PIP to be replaced by new disability payment which includes no face-to-face assessments – Daily Record

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As fishing industry lorries protested in Whitehall, did the Tories experience the shell of fear?

Fishery protest: do you think the Tories got the message?

It was hardly what the Tories could call the sweet smell of success.

Yesterday morning a fleet of lorries representing the Scottish fishing industry converged on Whitehall and Downing Street bearing messages of post-Brexit protest against Boris Johnson’s Brexit trade deal.

Fears are high that the industry could collapse altogether as fish prices have plummeted due to bureaucracy that has left catches rotting rather than crossing EU borders.

So it seems Scottish fishery firms decided to bring the problem home to the Tory government by letting ministers experience for themselves the consequences of their decisions.

Curiously, it seems to have taken the Tory-supporting, Brexit-orientated media a while to cotton on to the newsworthiness of the demonstration:

They got their in the end, though.

The protest seems to have had an effect.

In contrast to Dominic Raab’s claims that delays to fishing exports were just “teething problems”, Boris Johnson announced a £23 million fund to support firms which “through no fault of their own have experienced bureaucratic delays, difficulties getting their goods through, where there is a genuine willing buyer on the other side of the channel”.

He said details of the scheme would be available later in the week.

This Writer will believe it when I see it, but the Scottish fisheries are to be congratulated.

It seems their aromatic lorries may have acted like a dose of smelling salts – and woken up our ministers.

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The Scottish Tories have a new leader – but he seems to be both confused … and prejudiced

New Scottish Conservatives’ leader Douglas Ross – in what seems to be the role he prefers.

The Scottish Conservatives have a new leader – Douglas Ross, who was elected unopposed by party members.

This seems a very odd thing for them to do.

Consider the evidence in the video below – which I know was created by a supporter of the SNP. Try to ignore the party political message and concentrate on what this says about the person:

The ‘dark money’ claim seems accurate, as the Scottish Unionist Association Trust did support Ross, and did not declare donations and contributions to political campaigns properly to the Electoral Commission. As a result, SUAT was fined £1,300.

His voting record speaks for itself and seems extremely, traditionally, Tory – supporting central government, hammering the NHS and minorities.

But he seems confused: his discussion of rural broadband, ATM closures and unfair postal charges challenged his own party directly, and his votes against equal marriage and equal gay rights ran against party policy.

Also, his claim that refereeing football matches would not interfere with his Parliamentary responsibilities – and his subsequent trip to Barcelona instead of voting on a Welfare Bill – is well-documented.

Let’s look a little closer at his attitude to travellers:

Tom London’s point is a good one. He doesn’t want tougher enforcement against a particular aspect of travellers’ behaviour that the public may find objectionable; he just wants enforcement against them because they are travellers.

So it is right to ask how people would have felt if Ross had been speaking about Jews, Blacks, Muslims, gay people or any other minority group.

And this is the Scottish Tory choice as leader of their party…

A man who opposes his party as much as he supports it, with a reputation for prejudice against a minority group for no reason other than that it exists, and who prefers to run off and referee football matches rather than representing his electorate.

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Tory bids to make her party unelectable north of the border

The horror: Was this the look on Ruth Davidson’s face when she heard Michelle Ballantyne might try to get her old job as Scottish Tory leader?

A Conservative who spoke up in favour of the ‘rape clause’, limiting the number of children benefit claimants can have, may stand to become leader of her party in Scotland.

Way to go, Michelle Ballantyne.

You’ll make your party utterly unelectable north of the border if you succeed.

In 2018, Ballantyne provoked a furious backlash when she defended the so-called rape clause during a Holyrood debate on poverty and inequality.

The South Scotland MSP and party spokesman for social security said: “It is fair that people on benefits cannot have as many children as they like while people who work and pay their way and don’t claim benefits have to make decisions about the number of children they can have.

“Fairness is fairness to everybody, not to one part of the community.”

That’s a weird idea of fairness, considering benefit dependency may not last very long – or shouldn’t, if the system is working properly – but children are for life.

Or does Ms Ballantyne think people on benefits should be condemned to get no further, ever?

Whatever. Who cares?

It seems clear that Scottish Tories know it’s a bad idea letting her anywhere near the public.

Apparently they want a coronation for interim leader Jackson Carlaw – because that’s Tory democracy for you!

It’s looking bad for the toffs either way, isn’t it?

Either they show the public that they scorn democracy, or they face the possibility of having a leader who is electoral poison.

Ruth Davidson must be spinning in her (political) grave.

Source: Michelle Ballantyne joins Scottish Tory leadership contest | The National

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‘Survival sex’ scandal prompts call to take benefit powers away from DWP and hand them to Scottish Parliament

Esther McVey MP: She was Work and Pensions secretary when it was first suggested that benefit claimants were being forced into “survival sex”. Her response was chilling: “Other work may be on offer.”

Scottish equalities minister Christina McKelvie has called for the Scottish Parliament to have complete control of benefits north of the border, in a bid to stop claimants having to resort to “survival sex”.

It comes a month after a report on survival sex was published by the Commons Work and Pensions Committee in Westminster.

That document revealed that women were turning to prostitution in order to feed, clothe and house themselves and their children – due to cuts and delays in benefits like Universal Credit.

This site has discussed the issue several times. This article discussed how the chair of the Work and Pensions committee, Frank Field, wanted to know if advertorials on Universal Credit that the DWP ran in national newspapers explained how it forced women into prostitution.

And this article relayed the Tories’ heartless response when confronted with the facts.

Ms McKelvie said full devolution of responsibility for the benefit system would allow the Scottish government to stamp out the problems that are pushing women into that lifestyle.

Ms McKelvie said: “It’s absolutely disgraceful that women should have to resort to survival sex. Even the term makes my blood run cold.

“It’s a very complex issue, but already it’s clear that women are being affected by Universal Credit’s worst aspects such as the five-week wait, punitive sanctions and the hated two-child limit.

“We have repeatedly called on the UK Government to fix the problems with Universal Credit, to protect the most vulnerable in society and to prevent more people being pushed into poverty.”

It won’t happen, though.

Ms McKelvie is failing to understand that the Conservatives who run the DWP have no interest in the well-being of anybody claiming benefits.

They just want claimants to suffer, and to get off benefits by any means possible, so they can shut the system down.

If that means sick people go without their medicine and die, or depressed people go without therapy and die, or disabled people are left unable to pay for the things they need to survive…

… or women are forced to sleep with unpleasant men in order to provide for their families…

… it seems that’s just dandy with the Tories. And they still think you’ll vote for them in the general election.

Source: Universal Credit survival sex fury sparks call for DWP to hand full benefits powers to Scotland – Birmingham Live

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Crunch time for the UK constitution as BoJob is ordered to follow the law – or else

Not yet, but maybe soon: Boris Johnson has been warned by the courts that he must obey the Benn Act and delay Brexit if he can’t get a deal. If he refuses, will he end up in the clink?

Supporters of a “no deal” Brexit were celebrating prematurely today, after Scotland’s highest court threw out a legal bid to force Boris Johnson to apply to delay the UK’s departure from the EU.

Judge Pentland of the Court of Sessions said there could be “no doubt that the prime minister had agreed to abide by the law”, so there was no need for “coercive orders” against the government or Mr Johnson.

So that’s that, as far as the Brexiteers, the ERG and no doubt BoJob himself are concerned. They seem to think the ruling means he can avoid sending the message if no deal is struck, and the UK will crash out disastrously.

They are, of course, completely wrong.

Judge Pentland made his attitude perfectly clear: Mr Johnson has already told the court in written submissions that he will seek an extension of the Brexit deadline if no deal is struck by October 19 – and the court will hold him to it.

He said that was a binding legal commitment, and added:

I approach matters on the basis that it would be destructive of one of the core principles of constitutional propriety and of the mutual trust that is the bedrock of the relationship between the court and the Crown for the Prime Minister or the Government to renege on what they have assured the court.

In other words, if BoJob dares to contradict the Benn Act in the tiniest detail, he’ll be starting a constitutional crisis the like of which has never been seen in the United Kingdom.

Of course, that probably won’t stop him.

So the question becomes whether the institutions of the United Kingdom are being run by people capable of preventing the prime minister from doing further harm, once he crosses the line.

It’s looking like crunch time for one, the other or both.

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Why the Supreme Court must support Scottish judges against the end of democracy

Consider this:

If the executive can suspend parliament whenever it likes, for purely political reasons (it doesn’t like what parliament is doing), then the executive have the power to end our parliamentary democracy.
First it is for a few weeks, and then it is for a few years.
It is simply nonsense to say that this is a political matter, because politics has been shut down.
Parliament cannot even vote no confidence in the Executive because parliament has been suspended.
The argument that the law should not get involved in political matters does not wash on this occasion.

That’s the view of Oxford Emeritus Professor Simon Wren-Lewis, who wants to see the Supreme Court support the Scottish court in ruling Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament unlawful.

He believes Boris Johnson has shut down parliament for his own political reasons, and the only institution that can stop it – and stop a Prime Minister doing it in the future – is the UK’s legal system.

He says it is clear that Parliament was shut down for political reasons because shutting down parliament for five weeks is not necessary before a Queen’s Speech.

And the excuse that Parliament normally suspends itself for the party conference season isn’t good because Parliament was thinking of not doing so because of the gravity of the current situation, and also it was suspended well before that season.

It’s a clear argument that makes mincemeat out of Dictator Johnson’s claims. But will the Supreme Court accept it?

Source: mainly macro: Why the Supreme Court must protect our constitution

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New Tory benefit cuts are plunging even more people into poverty

Not your friends: Pensioners are being hit hard by changes to Pension Credit eligibility.

Cuts to social security spending in Scotland means people on benefits there will lose £500 million in total, according to a report to the Scottish government.

According to Welfare Weekly, the 2019 Annual Report on Welfare Reform shows the largest welfare cuts since 2015 are as a result of the benefit freeze, two-child cap, and changes to the work allowance:

According to the report, 8,500 Scottish families have already had their income cut by the Universal Credit (UC) two-child limit – and that figure will reach 40,000 at full rollout, pushing up to 20,000 children into poverty.

It also shows 86% of UC claimants have seen a fall in the amount they can earn before losing UC entitlement.

Furthermore, 91% of Scottish households affected by the Benefit Cap contain children. The cap has affected around 3,000 households, which are losing an average of more than £3,000 per year.

And around 5,600 Scottish couples could lose up to £7,000 per year by 2023/2024 because of changes to Pension Credit eligibility.

Read Scottish politicians’ responses here: ‘Shocking’ impact of UK welfare cuts revealed

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Scottish judges rule prorogation unlawful. Is it a bit late for that now?

Appeal court judges in Scotland have ruled that Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament until mid-October is not legal.

The decision overturns a previous ruling that courts did not have the power to overturn Mr Johnson’s political decision to prorogue Parliament.

But they did not issue an injunction or interdict ordering Parliament to reconvene after the prorogation came into effect early on Tuesday morning (September 10).

Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, said the Scottish tribunal was deferring a final decision on an interdict to the UK supreme court, which will hold a three-day hearing next week.

The UK government will appeal at the UK supreme court against the latest ruling, which also contradicts a decision in BoJob’s favour by senior English judges last week.

So it seems an appeal against the Scottish judges’ ruling that prorogation is unlawful will take place at the same time – September 17 – as an appeal against the UK judges’ ruling that it isn’t.

What if both appeals succeed?

And let’s not forget that another challenge is to be heard at a court in Belfast.

Meanwhile, as the courts go through their slow deliberations, Parliament remains unable to sit; unable to get on and deal with the important issues facing the UK.

I fear that the end result will be a decision that the prorogation was unlawful – delivered after it has ended.

What good will that be?

Source: Scottish judges rule PM’s suspension of parliament is unlawful | UK news | The Guardian

EXTRA: It seems the governent has not moved to have the effect of the Scottish court’s ruling delayed until after the Supreme Court in London delivers its decision on Tuesday (September 17).

This means that the prorogation is not currently in force and Parliament may meet again.

But will it?

It seems likely that soon-to-retire Speaker John Bercow may look kindly on the possibility.

But if the Tory government refuses to take part, won’t this only complicate matters even more?

And should that worry us – or should we embrace it as the possibility of even more embarrassment for Boris Johnson?

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Scottish Judge rejects parliament shutdown legal challenge

This is self-explanatory and nothing more than what was to be expected.

In any case, events have moved on and the prorogation now appears to be just another mistake by an inept, failed prime minister.

A Scottish judge has rejected a bid to have Boris Johnson’s plan to shut down parliament ahead of Brexit declared illegal.

The case was brought to the Court of Session in Edinburgh by a cross-party group of 75 parliamentarians, who argued the PM had exceeded his powers.

But Lord Doherty ruled on Wednesday that the issue was for politicians and voters to judge, and not the courts.

He said there had been no contravention of the law by the government.

Source: Brexit: Judge rejects parliament shutdown legal challenge – BBC News

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