Ken Macintosh MSP

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Ken Macintosh MSP

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Parliamentary Activities

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Meeting of the Parliament 03 March 2015 Business until 15:45 : 03 March 2015
Ken Macintosh

We support the amendment. The minister recognised the disproportionate nature of the powers to be granted to the ombudsman, and amendment 1 arose as a consequence. I welcome it on behalf of the Labour Party.



Meeting of the Parliament 03 March 2015 Business until 15:45 : 03 March 2015
Ken Macintosh

We are putting in place a new system for welfare, and I believe that we should have the information to be able to scrutinise and hold the system to account; the Parliament in particular should have a formal role to play in that. I remind the minister that, despite the heated exchanges so far, there is generally broad agreement about the bill but there are concerns about, for example, the underspend of resources in certain areas, gatekeeping by some local authorities and whether information about protected characteristics has been gathered. I urge the minister to accept the idea of a process of review and to give Parliament a role in that. I support amendment 8.



Meeting of the Parliament 03 March 2015 Business until 15:45 : 03 March 2015
Ken Macintosh

I echo the point that this is about getting the principles behind the bill right. This is the first of a series of bills implementing a new welfare system in Scotland, so it is important that we get the principles right.

The minister accepted a stage 2 amendment on dignity and respect, which was lodged by Kevin Stewart. However, she left out the needs and the choices of the individual, yet that is very much in keeping with Scottish Government policy.

The Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013 talks about individuals being able to “make an informed choice”. The Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014, through integration principles, encourages integrated health and social care services to take account

“of the particular needs ... and circumstances”

of individuals. The NHS quality strategy mentions “improved patient choice”. What is wrong with having the word “choice” as a principle in the bill?



Meeting of the Parliament 03 March 2015 Business until 15:45 : 03 March 2015
Ken Macintosh

Thank you very much, minister—it turns out that I was not too optimistic.

Amendment 6 agreed to.

Section 5A—Respect for, and dignity of, applicants for assistance



Meeting of the Parliament 03 March 2015 Business until 15:45 : 03 March 2015
Ken Macintosh

I hope that amendment 6 is slightly less contentious or that it will provoke slightly less reaction than the other two amendments seem to have. I say to Mr Johnstone that I may be being too optimistic.

The effect of amendment 6 would be to ensure that decisions on applications for crisis grants should be made immediately when possible and, if not immediately, by the end of the next working day in any event.

As some members will know from evidence to the Welfare Reform Committee, under the interim Scottish welfare fund local authorities have 48 hours in which to process a claim. However, under the previous DWP scheme, the deadline was 24 hours.

The issue first came to light when figures were presented to the committee that revealed that the interim fund was not meeting applicants’ needs as timeously as the previous scheme. For example, the figures for the old DWP crisis loan system show that payments were made in two days in 98.5 per cent of cases. That compares with a figure of just 94 per cent for the Scottish welfare fund.

The point was picked up by a number of voluntary and anti-poverty organisations. For example, Quarriers highlighted its concern that, if a 48-hour deadline is to be applied,

“an application that is made on a Friday or a Thursday ... may not be processed until late on Monday.”—[Official Report, Welfare Reform Committee, 7 October 2014; c 4.]

That would be after the weekend.

The strongest evidence probably came from the Child Poverty Action Group, which said:

“In the experience of our advisors, applications for crisis loans made over the phone were processed very quickly by the DWP. Delay was sometimes caused by difficulties getting through on the phone in the first place but, once connected, the process was generally very quick. Decisions were often made at the end of the initial phone call, with the claimant given an office from which an award could be collected on the same day. This also happens with some (though not all) SWF crisis grant applications.”

CPAG concluded:

“there is no implicit reason that processing times should be longer in relation to crisis grants”—

that is, under the new system—

“than they were for crisis loans. We are also concerned that the reference to a 48 hour time limit once all relevant information is received may lead some decision makers to request evidence when it is not needed.”

In other words, although this is clearly not the minister’s intention, the 48-hour backstop will become a target that will inadvertently have the effect of slowing down the process rather than speeding it up.

In her remarks to the Welfare Reform Committee, the minister suggested that she was going to consult actively on the area and that she intended to think carefully about the issue before including it in regulations. Has the minister had time to think about the matter further? Can she share any of those thoughts with members? If not, I urge members to support my amendment 6, which would replace the current 48-hour backstop with the original 24-hour timescale.

I move amendment 6.



Meeting of the Parliament 03 March 2015 Business until 15:45 : 03 March 2015
Ken Macintosh

Very well, Presiding Officer. I will press the amendment.



Meeting of the Parliament 03 March 2015 Business until 15:45 : 03 March 2015
Ken Macintosh

I see that the back benches seem very comfortable to sit on for Mr Salmond when he is challenged.

I suggest to the minister that she did not answer any of my questions.



Meeting of the Parliament 03 March 2015 Business until 15:45 : 03 March 2015
Ken Macintosh

Thank you, Presiding Officer. I was quite pleased to hear Mr Salmond making a contribution to the debate, given that he supports the welfare cap that Mr Stewart talked about just a few minutes earlier. I was delighted to see him come into the debate. [Interruption.]



Meeting of the Parliament 03 March 2015 Business until 15:45 : 03 March 2015
Ken Macintosh

Somebody who might use the bill might offer a challenge. Well, I put it to Mr Crawford, exactly who? Perhaps Mr Crawford will get on his feet again and tell me who is going to challenge the competence. Mr Crawford seems to suggest that his Government’s own Advocate General is going to challenge the competence of a measure passed by this Parliament to help families under exceptional pressure. [Interruption.] I will take an intervention from Mr Salmond, if that is all right.



Meeting of the Parliament 03 March 2015 Business until 15:45 : 03 March 2015
Ken Macintosh

Does the minister believe Mr Stewart’s far-fetched claim that the Queen will challenge this?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

Amendment 2 moved by X on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill—That the
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YesDefeated

Amendment 3 moved by X on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill—That the
>> Show more
YesDefeated

Amendment 4 moved by X on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill—That the
>> Show more
YesDefeated

Amendment 5 moved by X on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill—That the
>> Show more
YesDefeated

Amendment 7 moved by X on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill—That the
>> Show more
YesDefeated

Amendment 8 moved by X on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill—That the
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-12423.1 Alex Rowley: Commission on Local Tax Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-12423 in the n
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YesCarried

S4M-12423 Marco Biagi: Commission on Local Tax Reform—That the Parliament supports the establishment
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YesCarried

S4M-12385 Liz Smith: STEM Education in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament agrees that a solid grou
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12395.1 Fergus Ewing: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—As an amendment to motion S4M-12395 in the
>> Show more
NoCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Ken Macintosh
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12265: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12241.1: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12095.4: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11340: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 29/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11310: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11273: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 22/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10819: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10766: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10023: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09878: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 30/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Ken Macintosh
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-24724: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/03/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24554: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24551: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24553: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24552: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24531: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24532: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24530: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24510: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24509: Ken Macintosh, Eastwood, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/02/2015 Show Full Question >>

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