Welfare reform 'vital' after referendum date

SCOTLAND must take the opportunity to radically rebuild the welfare system whatever the outcome of the independence referendum, MSPs have been told.

Loading Comments

Either a yes vote and a clean start or a no vote, but with more powers, offer an opportunity which Scotland has to take to reduce economic inequalities according to a Glasgow academic.

Morag Gillespie of Glasgow Caledonian University's Poverty Information Unit said if the system was being devised now no-one would invent what we have.

She told the Scottish Parliament Economy Committee that the UK was one of the most unequal countries in the world whatever definition is used and said major reform was required.

The committee is considering the economic future of Scotland post 2014 and took evidence from anti-poverty campaigners and academics.

Ms Gillespie was asked by SNP MSP Joan McAlpine if Scotland needed independence to reform the welfare state.

Ms Gillespie said: "There is potential with control over more areas whether that's independence or not.

"What wouldn't work is if Scotland had control of social security spending but not other areas.

"There is a danger that certain benefits are devolved but others reserved at UK level. That is chaos and there has to be coherence.

"An independent vote doesn't necessarily mean we will have the things I would like, like an integrated benefits and tax system. It is an opportunity."

She said devolution max with more control of tax and spending, or independence, both offer opportunities.

She added: "If we were all sitting round a table inventing a new system we certainly wouldn't invent the one we have just now.

"There is the potential to sweep everything away and start again whether it is devo max or independence. We have been tinkering at the edges."

Ms Gillespie said there are many ways to define inequality and that's why the United Kingdom can be ranked in various positions in the world in different studies.

However she said: "It is possible for the UK to be in different places. It is consistently at the wrong end of it.

"It is never at the good end, never close to Denmark and Sweden and always closer to the USA and Singapore."

stewart.paterson @eveningtimes.co.uk

Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on Evening Times on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.


Have you got a story?

Contact the news desk on 0141 302 6520 or email news@eveningtimes.co.uk
A weekly round up of social highlights

A weekly round up of social highlights

Cat's Eyes on Glasgow

The Look Awards, a bra fitting and going veggie at Usha’s.




Gail’s Gab

Gail’s Gab

Gail Sheridan is a mother-of-one and wife to Tommy and she likes to get political with the hot topic of the week in her column Gail’s Gab.

Michelle McManus

Michelle McManus

Sussed in the City

Jam packed with Empire biscuit making.

Janice Bell

Janice Bell

You couldn’t make up half the stuff that happens to PA Janice Bell- some of the jams she gets herself into are worth a story or two.