Health charity says further welfare devolution is needed

Smith health

Alliance gives cautious welcome to Smith proposals, but says more welfare powers should have been devolved

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27th November 2014 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

A leading healthcare charity has expressed disappointment at the Smith Commission’s failure to recommend devolving welfare.

However, it gave a cautious welcome to the rest of the proposals.

Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland chief executive Ian Welsh said: “We welcome Lord Smith’s recommendations, which offer the potential to create a fairer, more equal Scotland by changing the relationship and respective powers of the UK and Scottish Parliaments and Governments.  

“Social justice is rightly highlighted as part of the Commission’s three core pillars. 

“Our engagement with people who are disabled, living with long term conditions, unpaid carers and third sector organisations across Scotland highlighted a desire for ‘powers with a purpose’ which put people at the centre, going beyond administrative and structural changes and seeking to make real change in people’s lives.

“It is in this regard that the devolution of the work program, as well complete autonomy over a package of welfare benefits is to be welcomed. 

“During the Smith Commission’s deliberations however, the alliance and many of our members made a strong case for devolution of all welfare benefits to Scotland, with the aim of enabling a holistic approach to achieving good health and wellbeing outcomes for our citizens.

“As we move forward, our collective efforts must now focus on ensuring the proposed division of responsibilities can support this goal and avoid creating a more complex and inaccessible system.”