Working for you
I am delighted to have the opportunity to address people in Rutherglen and Cambuslang directly through the Rutherglen Reformer.
It was a great honour to be sworn in as a new MSP in May as one of your representatives on the Glasgow Regional List.
Shortly after the election I was appointed by Ruth Davidson to her shadow cabinet with responsibility for communities, social security, the constitution and equalities.
On July 29 the Scottish Government published their long awaited social security consultation paper. This is significant for people in Rutherglen and Cambuslang because, for the first time, one third of all existing working-age benefits, including Carer’s Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and PIP will be under the full control of the Scottish Government.
In addition, the Scottish Parliament will be able to create new benefits if we feel a particular group of people need extra support. We can also top-up any benefit that remains under the control of Westminster if we feel the level of benefit is set too low. This is just as it should be.
Before I was elected I was proud to play a role in ensuring that both Holyrood and Westminster would take responsibility for developing and delivering social security in Scotland.
The Scottish Conservatives believe that social security is an investment by everyone. It supports some of the most vulnerable people in our community and we need to proceed through the transition period with care and caution to make sure people receive the correct payment in a timely fashion. However, the devolution of such substantial new powers presents us with the opportunity to do things better.
It will no longer be enough for the SNP to blame decisions made in Westminster for problems which it identifies when it has control over so much and such flexibility in developing policy from here.
If the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament are to get the transfer right and deliver a system which treats people with dignity and respect, which helps people overcome barriers they face due to ill health or disability, and which builds on the lowest level of unemployment in decades by helping more people back into work, then we need to hear from you.
This summer’s social security consultation is an opportunity for community groups, individuals and businesses, not just politicians, to have their say and give an insight as to how social security operates on an everyday basis at the most local level. Your insight is invaluable and I hope readers or any organisation you are part of in Rutherglen and Cambuslang will take the time to respond before the consultation period closes at the end of October.
Let’s work together to ensure that Scotland has the best social security system possible.