Which way now for public providers in Scotland?

Children walking in a deprived area of Glasgow

Would an independent Scotland be able to reverse the Uk government’s austerity measures? Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Photographs

Housing policy has been devolved for many years. The Scottish government controls budgets for investment and capital subsidy. The austerity axe has fallen heavily on social housing. We would welcome reinvestment to supply a lot necessary cost-effective housing, at a lower value to the public purse. The most powerful way to remedy the bedroom tax is full repeal. We welcome cross-party assistance in the Scottish parliament to mitigate the impact of the tax with additional investing. The tax underlines the tensions between social security and housing policy just above half of all social rents payable in Scotland are sourced from housing benefit, but housing benefit expenditure is a lot reduce per capita simply because rents are decrease here. Policymakers have no management in excess of the means by which individuals are supported to shell out rental expenses. In the event of a no vote, we would seem for even more devolution of powers to allow Scotland to workout management above how to assistance housing charges. But if there’s a yes vote, we would expect a social security system to meet Scottish needs and policy objectives. 

Enhanced homelessness rights, the abolition of appropriate to buy and fuller rights for tenants are a sample of the measures that signify the divergence among housing policy in Scotland and the rest of the Uk. What ever the vote, housing policy will proceed to evolve. That’s not to diminish the significance of a yes vote. Taking complete handle of welfare and taxation are the two biggest policy levers on supply. With rewards and taxation powers firmly held at Westminster, landlords nevertheless dance to those tunes far more than those of Holyrood. Whatever the end result of the vote, there are two certainties – Scotland’s immediate want for a new lengthy-term prepare on homelessness and to build at least 10,000 new inexpensive residences every single year for the foreseeable potential.

The present Uk strategy to dealing with asylum and refugees is not match for purpose. It’s getting dealt with in the broader immigration technique, which is yet another area of public policy that is a toxic debate. Asylum is swept up in that when it is a separate situation that demands to be accomplished in a different way to border manage and determining who gets to operate right here. We’re pleased that a variety of the suggestions we place forward [for how the asylum and refugee system would perform in an independent Scotland] have been included in the white paper on independence. Principally, the idea of establishing a separate agency just to deal with asylum and refugee troubles – free of charge from day-to-day political interference. A specific agency separate from immigration, signifies we will have decisions that will be more primarily based on proof. It’s about restating the truth that claiming asylum is not a crime – it truly is component of the global human rights framework.

At a individual degree, I am quite fearful that if the vote is yes, all the other problems such as currency, debt and political welfare methods will take precedence, and there will be absolutely nothing happening [in migrant rights] for a handful of years. I know the Scottish government feels that the immigration and asylum situation is all about integration. I think that integration is a two-way process. In the United kingdom, it really is also one particular sided – “how can migrants fit in?”. Integration smacks of “tolerance” and I would a lot choose “acceptance”.

When you speak to folks in nearby communities, the actual story is not about the internal workings of Holyrood or Westminster. It is about the local providers that communities need to have, and giving people a say about what matters locally to them. Efficient regional democracy is fundamental to the variety of nation we want to dwell in. The options and difficulties that we face in different parts of the country demand regional selections and neighborhood accountability. More solutions are run by distant bureaucracies, and frequently people providers are becoming accomplished to individuals rather than delivered with them.  Generating Scotland a fairer, healthier and wealthier spot will not be attained from the top down. The actuality is that strengthening lives means empowering nearby democracy and letting regional people determine on their priorities, their solutions, and their spending. 

Social operate legislation has been separate from England for many years. Though the 32 councils make a decision on certain social work funding, considerably latest policy is perceived as more and more centralised, for instance, grownup assistance and protection. It truly is yet to be witnessed how social care partnerships could be influenced by the vote. Some really specialist assets are accessed in England this kind of as detox, therapeutic residential care, and secure care – despite the fact that councils consider to steer clear of this, at times there are no amenities right here. Also, some charities offering care, this kind of as Barnardo’s and Action for Children that are Uk-wide with Scottish offices, may review their position in an independent Scotland. Social function delivery in Scotland has been significantly impacted by the impact of welfare reform imposed by Westminster. Our members have to deal with people’s confusion about universal positive aspects and the resulting penalties that can depart young children and households in enhanced poverty. There is a view that a yes vote could help repeal some of this legislation. Several of our members want social workers to be freed up to return to their direct position as modify agents within communities. A smaller country, both independent or with elevated devolved powers, may possibly permit for that debate.

Our roles as campaigners, service providers and neighborhood builders will not disappear. There will often be a require to mobilise citizens, regardless of whether to help in hospices or put an end to poverty and inequality.  Independence will neither support nor hinder the improvement of the correct approaches to keep older folks out of hospital, youngsters off the dole or offenders out of prison. What will adjust for us is the leverage to challenge a lot more and to construct the type of inclusive value-primarily based society and sustainable economic system that some of us dream of. With the criminal welfare cuts and the austerity policies of the United kingdom government, the big query is: would large levels of poverty and inequality stand a better likelihood of becoming addressed in an independent country? Would it pave the way to create an financial technique that works for the bulk? With independence, we would count on an immediate turnaround in approaches to welfare – from belligerent harassment to support and empowerment. Voluntary organisations would play a huge portion in the immediate task of nation building, but whether it’s a yes or no vote, there will usually be a lot more to do to develop a much better, fairer society.

Amongst disabled individuals in Scotland there is a huge volume of dread about the new personal independent payment (PiP), universal credit score and the impact of bedroom tax. Even though massive [policy] regions are devolved in Scotland, there is a mismatch at policy level. For instance, Inclusion Scotland favours houses for life [designed to accommodate people's altering care wants] but the bedroom tax undermines that [as it forces individuals to move to smaller sized properties]. We can now meet with crucial policy and selection makers and give them our account of what is necessary – they do not often act but we can speak and get a hearing. There is a challenge in going down to Westminster and getting access to ministers. It is physically attainable to lobby [members of the Scottish parliament], which can make achieving political modify simpler.

Public well being is a severe matter for Scotland. Given that devolution, the Scottish government has brought in daring initiatives, including the abolition of prescription fees and the provision of cost-free eye tests for all. And let’s not overlook that we had been the 1st United kingdom nation to introduce the smoking ban. Now the Scottish government is pushing ahead with strategies for plain packaging on cigarettes and minimum unit pricing on alcohol. These stage to a distinct set of government priorities than individuals of Westminster. The Scottish government factors to cuts in welfare investing brought in by Westminster exacerbating bad well being. Independence would give Scotland the power to target on strengthening wellness by seeing wellness, social care and wider social problems as all portion of the exact same picture.

Devolution has led Scotland down a different path from the rest of the Uk with commitments to universal public providers, no privatisation and free of charge schooling. But “mitigating Britain” cannot be our long term. We are caught with the unbalanced United kingdom economic system and each and every time Westminster cuts funding from public companies, our budgets fall. You saw this just lately in which Scotland diverted funds from other budgets to lessen the affect of the bedroom tax. Scotland is presently halfway in the direction of being a different variety of nation. Independence is an opportunity to try out and complete the occupation.

Civil and criminal courts are already inside of the competence of the Scottish parliament, and Scotland’s prison services is separate from England’s, so there is no purpose for significantly to modify immediately in the realm of criminal justice. However, if we obtain wider powers in relation to social protection this may well have an impact on criminal justice problems. The explanation a lot of men and women end up in Scottish prisons is tied to poverty. Selections about how people on benefits are dealt with – advantages being suspended or stopped, for example – have an effect on offending costs. Independence delivers higher scope for joined-up government, for welfare policy choices to be taken in a certain Scottish context rather than being determined by Westminster.

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