The Scottish Affairs Committee of the House of Commons and Social Security Committee of the Scottish Parliament hold their second joint session when they will be hearing from Damian Green MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and Angela Constance MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, members of the UK and Scottish governments respectively.
Monday 20 March 2017,
- Rt Hon Damian Green MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
- Mary Pattison, Senior Responsible Officer for Scottish Devolution Programme and Ageing Society and State Pensions Director, Department for Work and Pensions
- Angela Constance MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities
- Stephen Kerr, Director of Social Security, Scottish Government
Purpose of the session
The Scotland Act 2016 devolves new powers over social security to the Scottish Parliament, including responsibility over Universal Credit and ability to create new benefits in devolved areas.
The joint session will examine how the Scottish and UK governments are co-operating to ensure a smooth transition of the newly devolved powers, in particular the effectiveness of the Joint Ministerial Working Group. Social security policy in Scotland will continue to be a combination of devolved and reserved powers in the future, successful co-operation between ministers and staff in both administrations will be a vital part of ensuring the measures are effective.
The session will also look at current the policies of both governments, providing an indication how influential both governments will remain in deciding social security policy. This will include the impact of planned Jobcentre Plus closures in Glasgow, and potentially throughout Scotland, a responsibility of the UK Government.
Ahead of the session, Chairman of the Scottish Affairs Committee, Pete Wishart MP commented:
"I'm delighted to welcome my colleagues from the Scottish Parliament to the House of Commons as we continue our important work on social security. If we are to have a social security policy that provides the right support for the people of Scotland there must be co-operation between governments. This must extend beyond the current transition of powers and play a part in the continued development of policy. We will be asking both ministers about the effectiveness of current mechanisms to ensure this and future plans to improve inter-governmental relationships."
Sandra White MSP, Convener of the Social Security Committee, commented:
"The devolution of social security powers is one of the most important pieces of work in the history of the Scottish Parliament. It is in everyone's interests to ensure this transfer works. Our Committees have had a constructive meeting at Holyrood with officials from the Scottish Government and DWP. On Monday we will hear from the ministers in charge to make certain there is the political will to ensure the smooth transfer of powers."
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