For­mer deputy calls for U-turn

The Press and Journal (Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS -

Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary John Swin­ney should “do a Ham­mond” and ditch the con­tro­ver­sial named-per­son scheme, for­mer SNP deputy leader Jim Sil­lars has said.

The vet­eran politi­cian warned the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment could face years of pun­ish­ment if it pro­ceeds with the pol­icy, which was the sub­ject of a lengthy court bat­tle.

Speak­ing at a con­fer­ence or­gan­ised by the No to Named Per­sons group (NO2NP), he also en­cour­aged cam­paign­ers to lobby SNP back­benchers to defy min­is­ters over fresh leg­is­la­tion aimed at get­ting the scheme up and run­ning next year.

Mr Sil­lars, a vo­cal critic of the pol­icy, said it would be “po­lit­i­cally fool­ish” for Mr Swin­ney to press ahead, stat­ing “the log­i­cal po­si­tion is not to pro­ceed”.

Re­fer­ring to Chan­cel­lor

“Stop dig­ging, get out the hole and aban­don it”

Philip Ham­mond’s Bud­get U-turn on na­tional in­sur­ance, he said: “My ad­vice would be to do a Ham­mond.

“Last week the gov­ern­ment at West­min­ster was in a hole. It had the brains to stop dig­ging and my ad­vice to this gov­ern­ment is this isn’t go­ing to work.

“This is go­ing to be a pun­ish­ment on you over the years ahead. Stop dig­ging, get out the hole and aban­don it.”

Mr Sil­lars in­sisted that bring­ing in the scheme “would sour re­la­tions be­tween the SNP gov­ern­ment and mil­lions of peo­ple”.

But a Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment spokesman said: “The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment re­mains ab­so­lutely com­mit­ted to the named-per­son ser­vice as a way to sup­port chil­dren and young peo­ple by work­ing in part­ner­ship with them and with fam­i­lies.”

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