HOLYROOD BACKS UNIVERSAL SERVICES IN FACE OF WESTMINSTER CUTS
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 15:08
SOCIAL CONTRACT GOES TO HEART OF SCOTTISH VALUES
The Scottish Parliament has today voted to confirm its determination to defend the universal services that form part of the Scottish Government’s Social Contract with people in Scotland in the face of budget cuts being imposed by Westminster.
MSPs voted to confirm their opposition to the approach being taken by the Westminster Government and the pressures it is putting on the Scottish budget and re-affirmed its commitment to policies such as free personal care, no tuition fees, concessionary travel, free eye tests and no prescription charges.
A recent opinion poll found that 52% of people in Scotland want the Scottish Parliament to make decisions over all tax and spending and 53% want the Scottish Parliament to make decisions on welfare and pensions policy.
Commenting after the vote, SNP MSP Angus MacDonald said:
“Measures like free personal care for the elderly, and an education based on the ability to learn rather than the ability to pay, are absolutely fundamental to the social contract that binds society in Scotland together.
“They are some of the hard-won advances that have been made by Scotland’s parliament, and it is imperative that the progress that has been made is not sacrificed to Westminster’s failed austerity agenda.
“We are determined to protect these policies in Scotland because they go right to the heart of the values held by people in Scotland.
“Undermining the progress in these areas that has been made by the Scottish Parliament is the last thing that people in Scotland want their representatives to be doing, and it is incredible that opposition politicians seem determined to do exactly that.
“Protecting the social contract is something we are able to deliver with the powers currently held by the Scottish Parliament, but it is only with the powers of an independent Scotland that we can ensure that Scotland’s values are at the heart of every decision affecting Scotland.
“That is why a recent opinion poll found a clear majority in favour of the Scottish Parliament making all decisions on taxation and welfare, rather than leaving these critical areas in the hands of Westminster.
“Only a Yes vote in September 2014 will give us the opportunity to make those decisions, and enable us to build the fairer, more prosperous Scotland that we all want to see.”