CPAG in Scotland Submission to the Smith Commission

October 2014

CPAG in Scotland has submittted a response to the Smith Commission's call for evidence. This sets out our initial thoughts on further devolution, with a focus on proposed devolution of ‘welfare’ powers. It goes on to pose key questions which we believe need to be answered in order to ensure further devolution is in the best possible interests of children in and at risk of poverty.

We have drawn on our expertise in UK social security and how it interacts with devolved sources of financial support and child poverty policy in order to inform our response to the Smith Commission on further devolution.

We believe that any devolution of power should be underpinned by clear strategic objectives and principles. In particular, the merits of any settlement should be judged on the extent to which they provide a realistic opportunity to reduce child poverty and wider socio-economic inequality.

Furthermore it is vital that devolution of significant social security powers is not considered in isolation. Social security responsibilities need to be coherently linked to the wider range of fiscal, economic and labour market powers, including national minimum wage and parental employment rights. Failure to ensure the links creates a real risk of leaving the Scottish Parliament with responsibility for ‘picking up the pieces’ of poverty generating policies over which it has no control, and within increasingly tight fiscal constraints.