This morning I made a presentation to the Devolution (Further Powers) Committee about the proposals in the White Paper, An Enduring Settlement. The session was taken under Chatham House Rules. I’ve now been able to update it for a public submission: here it is. The key differences between the Smith Commission and the White Paper are outlined in a table:
|The Smith Commission||The White Paper|
|New benefits in devolved areas|| New benefits in devolved areas
of welfare responsibility
|Benefits for carers||Benefits for unemployed carers|
|Benefits for disability and those who are ill||Benefits for people with ‘significant’
direct payments to landlords
to whom payable
|Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit||Industrial Injuries Benefits, excluding
prescribed industrial diseases
|Cold weather and Winter Fuel Payment||Cold weather payments|
|Topping up reserved benefits||Additions to Housing Benefit/ housing costs|
Since I wrote the paper I’ve been able to discuss the issues about disability with a range of Scottish disability organisations. There are three key issues: the eccentric definition of a ‘disabled person’ in clause 16, the limitation of carers to people not in education or gainful employment, and the dropping of references to illness. Use of the definition of a disabled person in the Equality Act 2010 (which is referred to in clause 22) would deal with some of the problems.
The first draft was prepared in a hurry; I was asked to do it last Friday for submission by Monday, and while I usually spend time trying to make my stuff more readable and comprehensible, my early drafts are usually just as impenetrable as everyone else’s. My apologies, then, if reading this is a bit like wading through treacle.