HOLYROOD politicians were last night accused of “grandstanding” by refusing to rubber-stamp the UK Government’s welfare reforms.

Nationalists and Labour MSPs united to reject benefit changes linked to Iain Duncan Smith’s shake-up.

Among the more controversial measures is the capping of housing benefit and the introduction of a universal benefit.

It is the first time in its 12-year history that the Scottish Parliament has voted against a special motion allowingWestminsterto act on devolved matters.

The largely symbolic move followed an appeal by Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon for MSPs to take a stand.

She conceded it will not stop the Welfare Reform Bill being passed atWestminster. But it will lead to Holyrood agreeing its own laws on areas in devolved issues such as free school meals and the blue badge scheme for disabled drivers.

The largely symbolic move followed an appeal by Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon for MSPs to take a stand

Labour backed the SNP’s call to refuse the necessary Legislative Consent Motion (LCM) on part of the Bill, voting to reject it by 100 votes in favour to 18 against.

But the move was criticised by Tory and Liberal Democrat MSPs who defended their Coalition colleagues south of the Border.

Scottish Tory health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said the SNP and Labour were “grandstanding”.

He said: “Nothing done today will alter the course of the UK Welfare Reform Bill, regardless of the SNP’s rhetoric.

What the SNP have done is opportunistic, pointless and potentially reckless. The SNP and Labour joined together today, not to change the substance of the proposed welfare reforms, but through their action to raise the prospect of delays in the most vulnerable people inScotlandaccessing these new benefits.”

Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur said: “At best, it seems to be a gesture, but one with potentially serious consequences.”

The UK Government has dismissed criticism that it is targeting the disabled and the vulnerable in the shake-up. It has proposed moving to a single universal credit from 2013.

The Bill replaces child tax credit, working tax credit, housing benefit and income support, among others.

Ms Sturgeon earlier told MSPs she supports efforts to simplify the benefits system but claimed measures put forward by Work and Pensions Secretary Mr Duncan Smith amount to cost-cutting.

She said benefits receipts inScotlandwould be reduced by £2.5billion by 2015, with £1billion coming from the disabled and their families.

Ms Sturgeon said: “This will be the first refusal of legislative consent in the lifetime of this Parliament.

“It is right that we stand up for the most vulnerable in our society.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: “These reforms will end the cycle of generations of Scots living a life on benefits. When one in five Scottish households is workless, something fundamental needs to change.”


  1. After Atos says:

    Recently sent all Scottish MPs and Scottish Parliament MPs the After Atos overall results, the links to Atos admitting they do not care and their own special breakdown of respondents from Scotland. Made a direct request to Scottish Parliament to help After Atos get the Scottish response in and help them account for their disabled in Scotland. they (and also Welsh Assembly) sent me communications explaining how it is not up to them and they have no right or jursidiction over endorsing or supporting a feedback survey for the Atos disabeld customer. They both refered me to Westminster and Scottish Parliament sent their own support of my communication. I got an overall response from Westminster as if I was just asking a common general question to them of the Welfare Reform Bill. I sent that back to Scottish Parliament. I have sent all the communication and links and the fact that I have sent correspondence to all Scottish MPs to all Scottish newspapers. Including the tiny wee island ones. So keep at it. It may have helped persuade them. It is only the facts that will give this beast a chance of dying. or as traditionally referred to The Sword of Truth. God!! its bloody hard work. I think Scottish granite is easier to get through than Westminster hearts and heads.
    Lots of Love for Christmas. Wot a Bloody Year!!

    Friend lost son and in bedsit with broken back, now on only £27pw and “fit to work” She’s coming down for Christmas whether she wants to or not. I’ll go up and drag her down. Bah Humbug. See After Atos Alternative Christmas Message on Youtube and website The Final message being “Dear Atos, YOU WILL LOSE!!” But how many more before they do?


  2. After Atos says:

    Dear Editor,

    Hot on the heels of your story of the blind man with arthritis who was stuck off his benefits as fit to work I am getting in contact with you as After Atos. I am a disabled user and was/am registered as a nurse. So I knew the questions that should be asked and that the disabled should be able to give their feedback and their outcome monitored. The feedback survey has been running since March. It is just user supported and not funded, but I think essential. It is essential that politicians, Atos and DWP and all who support and care and have a conscience support the right for disabled to be accounted for.

    I have even split the feedback survey’s into regional. Including one for Wales, which I can feedback regularly. It would help if you give it prominence and support the information of its existence. Survey is confidential and anonymous and I keep respondents identities private and remove all indentifying features. But they all get their own copy back and it is up to them to use it as they like, including going to press as themselves or as a body. It really would be a helpful tool for all. Would really appreciate it if you could help get us known. I have contacted all Welsh MPs and the Assembly members. They all say the decisions about the disabled are out of their hands and I have to refer to Wesminster to have endorsement and support for the feedback survey to be available in the Atos centres. I have just got a response back from the DWP which really avoids the question and survey tool and ignores it. This has been the response all the year. The only way is for the disabled people of Wales to be able to give back their experience, facts, stats and where they are now. Its really ridiculous and cruel. But you will never know how ridiculous and cruel unless you get the feedback in and help raise consciousness of this and help your people and the disabled people be heard.

    Please see following. (followed by correspondence to Welsh MPs and info and links to AA)


    Counting the Disabled Back In – Because People Matter

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