Scotland can do better on welfare



An observation that misogyny is embedded in the UK’s welfare system was raised in the Scottish Parliament today as Ruth Maguire, SNP MSP for Cunninghame South picked up on an assessment made by the UN Special Rapporteur on UK Poverty, Professor Philip Alston, in his end-of-visit statement after he visited the UK recently.

During a Ministerial Statement on his report, Ruth asked if the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Aileen Campbell MSP, agreed with his assessment, that “If you got a group of misogynists together in a room and said ‘how can we make a system that works for men but not women?’ they wouldn’t have come up with too many other ideas than what’s in place.” And does she agree with me that by embedding Equalities and Human rights assessments into decision making the Scottish Government can and does do better for women?”

The Minister agreed and explained that if Scotland had powers over welfare Scotland would not have the two child limit on claims for child benefit nor the “rape clause.

Commenting afterwards, Ruth said: “Instead of the draconian regime that is currently in place where poverty is the terrible outcome, if Scotland had the powers necessary we would seek to embed a culture of fairness, dignity and respect throughout our welfare system. And we’ve already started. Using the limited powers we have in this area, we’ve introduced Best Start Grants, the first of which are due to be paid in time for Christmas. And there will be no cap and no limit on the numbers of children who will benefit.”

The following is Ruth’s exchange with the Cabinet Secretary:

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