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Lawmaker Urges Devolution of Welfare Powers to Scotland to End Poverty

© Flickr / Graeme PowWestminster must devolve its wide-ranging powers over welfare matters to the Scottish parliament to better address rising poverty rates, Eilidh Whiteford of the Scottish National Party said in a statement Friday.
Westminster must devolve its wide-ranging powers over welfare matters to the Scottish parliament to better address rising poverty rates, Eilidh Whiteford of the Scottish National Party said in a statement Friday. - Sputnik International
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Scottish lawmakers have been blaming UK welfare policies for driving up poverty rates, specifically child deprivation levels, in the region. The only way to tackle poverty and homelessness is to devolve welfare powers from Westminster to the Scottish parliament, an SNP member believes.

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EDINBURGH, December 26 (Sputnik) – Westminster must devolve its wide-ranging powers over welfare matters to the Scottish parliament to better address rising poverty rates, Eilidh Whiteford of the Scottish National Party said in a statement Friday.

"Charities and civic society groups made it clear in their submissions that only by devolving welfare wholesale could we make a transformational impact on poverty in Scotland. However, even if the welfare powers recommended by the Smith Commission are delivered, 85 percent of welfare will remain in the grip of Westminster," Whiteford said.

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The Smith Commission was created following the Scottish independence referendum in September to initiate cross-party talks between the regional Scottish parliament and the UK parliament in Westminster with the end goal of transferring broader legislative powers to lawmakers in Scotland.

Scottish lawmakers have been blaming UK welfare policies for driving up poverty rates, specifically child deprivation levels, in the region.

Statistics produced earlier by housing charity Shelter revealed around 4,000 children in Scotland will be homeless over the Christmas period. The Child Poverty Action Group forecast that 100,000 children will be living in poverty by 2020.

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Following recommendations by the Smith Commission on what additional powers could be devolved to Scotland, 2.5 billion pounds ($3.89 billion) of welfare spending will now be decided by the Scottish parliament, but Westminster will retain control over the remaining 15 billion pound welfare budget.

In September, Scottish voters rejected independence for their nation in a referendum, with 55 percent of them preferring Scotland remain part of the United Kingdom.

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