William Grant: MP
Miner’s son, William was born 14 August 1951. He was raised in Rankinston in Cumnock and Doon Valley, East Ayrshire, and educated at Littlemill Primary in northern Rankinston and Cumnock Academy.
He joined the fire service and served for 31 years before retiring at 55 as a deputy commander in the Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service. With a public service lump sum retirement benefit payment of around £75k and a pension, (based on available information) to be in the region of £30k per annum a benefit free future was secured.
He is a member of the Kyle and Carrick Civic Society, the Alloway Rotary, the Ayr Classic Motorcycle Club and the Ayr Building Preservation Trust and is a keen DIY, gardening and motorcycling enthusiast.
Other Public Service:
He served as a justice of the peace for ten years on Ayr District Court.
He was first elected as a Conservative Councillor on South Ayrshire Council at the 2007 Council elections, serving as one of four Councillors in the Ayr West ward and was re-elected in the 2012 Council elections. He unsuccessfully campaigned as the Conservative Party candidate in Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock at the 2010 UK General Election.
He successfully gained the seat for the Conservatives from the SNP’s Corri Wilson at the 2017 general election, (which wasn’t a surprise given the bad press coverage to which she was subjected by the Unionist press and state controlled media.)
With the looks of a jolly, well disposed Victor Meldrew, Grant thrives on photo opportunities and courts publicity.
Noteworthy Events in His Political Career
22 Dec 2016: Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) – South Ayrshire Tory and Labour Councillors Refuse to Support Ayrshire Women
Furious Councillor Nan McFarlane said “women across South Ayrshire had been insulted” by the performance of Conservative and Labour members after a so-called chamber debate descended into farce. It followed their shut down of an SNP motion to protest against changes to the State Pension Age by the UK government.
The alterations have hit many women across the country by lifting their pension age from 60 to 65. Retrospective changes have been made, in many cases, with minimal notice for women who had planned to retire and now face being forced to work on. But what should have been a mature debate on a very serious subject ended in 90 minutes of embarrassing political football at County Buildings.
SNP colleagues had called for a written protest to Westminster against the transitional changes which, they said, would be sent on behalf of all women in South Ayrshire. What they were met with was a ludicrous amendment slapped down by council leader, Bill McIntosh, which proposed that the SNP write instead to Holyrood complaining about the terms of the local government settlement. But the two issues are totally unrelated and in any event the proposed changes to the pension age will come fully into force in the very near future.
But what is crystal clear is the shame which this attempt at a debate brought upon South Ayrshire Council. Following a painful series of exchanges and a 15-13 vote in favour of denying women support, there was little holding back from those who felt politics should have played second fiddle. Councillor McFarlane said: “I actually feel like I’ve been the victim of domestic abuse sitting through that. Those who voted with that amendment should be utterly ashamed of themselves. Women all across South Ayrshire have been insulted by what has taken place and I have never been so disgusted by that council.”
Independent Councillor, Brian Connolly, asked: “Can someone tell me what pensions have got to do with the local government settlement? Nothing as far as I can see.”
During the fractious debate, SNP colleague Douglas Campbell said: “I never cease to be amazed by this council. This undoubtedly marks a low point for me during my time here. All we’ve done is make ourselves a laughing stock and the fact we couldn’t debate this issue is a disgrace.
SNP leader Allan Dorans, who tabled the original motion, said: “I’m embarrassed to be a member of this council. To blame the Scottish Government for this is political posturing at its worst and members who vote with the amendment are doing women a huge injustice.”
Only Ann Galbraith (Conservative) and Ian Cavana (Labour) broke ranks with the administration to vote with the motion. But their show of defiance was not enough. (daily record)
9 Aug 2017: Bill Grant (MP) Refuses to Support “WASPI” Women Campaign
Bill Grant Conservative MP for Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock met with women (born in the 1950s) from within his constituency who have had their state pension age changed by the implementation of the 1995 and 2011 Pension acts.
The WASPI group (Women Against State Pension Inequality) shared their, and fellow Waspi’s stories and how they have been affected by these changes and the lack of notice they were given, had they known at the time of both pension acts, they would have been able to make alternative arrangements.
The MP heard stories of women who are now need to sell their family homes, women relying on their families to subsidize them to be able to buy food, women who have developed mental health issues over their impoverished situation as a result of this injustice.
Despite this, the MP refused to sign the WASPI pledge to support WASPI women and to work in Parliament to find a solution for the women affected. More details here: (http://www.waspi.co.uk/)
There are 4750 women affected in Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock which is Grant’s constituency.
A statement by the group said: “WASPI are not against equality, we agree with this. Our complaint is not being informed of the 1995 Pension Act until at least 14 years or later, and some cases not being informed at all. Women in Ayrshire WASPI have never received letters regarding the 2011 Pension act which accumulates to an extra six years wait on a state pension that they have paid into since they were 15 years old.
Therefore the basis of our complaint is Maladministration by DWP. The Conservative party continually state the Scottish Government should sort this out, but the reality is that under section 28 of the Scotland act they do not have the power to pay state pensions.
The other factor is that they paid their National Insurance to Westminster therefore Westminster should pay them their state pension or agree to transitional payments.”
Bill Grant MP said: “I share the UK government aim of securing a sustainable state pension. If I can raise issues to help redress inequality, I certainly will. However, I did not feel it was appropriate for me to sign the WASPI pledge. The Government has previously made a concession worth £1.1 billion that will reduce the impact on women most affected by pension changes.” (carrick gazette)
28 Dec 2017: Cumnock MP Bill Grant Slammed For Appearing To Be Fast Asleep in Parliament During “WASPI” Debate
A photograph shows the Conservative MP pictured sitting behind Moray MP Douglas Ross with his eyes closed, appearing to be fast asleep during the debate on pensions equality for women.
Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley MSP Jeane Freeman has hit out at the MP for disrespecting the plight of the Women Against State Pension Inequality. She said: “Not only did Bill Grant MP refuse to sign the WASPI pledge to support WASPI women in their fight for pension equality a few months ago, he fails to give the WASPI debate in parliament the attention it deserves by falling asleep on the job.”
However, Mr Grant has claimed that he wasn’t sleeping during the debate on pensions equality for women and that, instead, he was “listening intently”. He followed up saying that he supported the government aim of securing a sustainable state pension (cumnock chronicle)
29 Jun 2017: Retired Fireman, Bill Grant (MP) and the Rest of the Tory Crazy Gang Vote to Retain Wage Repression and an Increase in Austerity Measures
The Tory government defeated a Labour Party amendment to the Queen’s Speech calling for an end to cuts to the police and the fire service, the end of the 1% public sector pay cap and to give emergency and public services a fair pay rise by 323 to 309 votes.
Northern Ireland’s 10 DUP MP’s despite speaking out against austerity before the election agreed to vote with Conservative MP’s to give Theresa May the majority she needed after she agreed a £1.5billion bung to Northern Ireland to win their votes.
There was much criticism from bodies representing Britain’s 5 million emergency and public services staff of the government’s refusal to rethink public sector cuts after their response to recent terrorist events and the courage of firefighters who risked their lives in the Grenfell Tower blaze.
Especially after Theresa May told a nurse on BBC Question Time that there is “no magic money tree” for a pay rise to stop nurses having to turn to food banks and pay day loans in the run up to her snap election, before agreeing to part with £1.5billion in return for DUP support.
21 Jul 2017: Ralph Robertson: Bill Grant MP has had pay rises of 3.9%, 5%, 0%, 4.6%, 5.2%, 2.2%, 2.7%, 0%, 1%, on his fire brigade pension if he retired 2007 and I am sure he was happy to take it all. Working firefighters over the same period have had next to nothing with wage freezes and 1% rises.
22 Jul 2017: Nick Larkin: Also got a pay rise on his Council pay of around 8% in or around 2011 so no stranger to a pay rise. Remember, too, this is the man who was too ill to stand again as a Councillor in 2017 for £24K or so a year but just a month later was just fine to stand as an MP for £75K a year plus benefits. No flies on Bill Grant MP
31 Aug 2017: Newly Built Ayr Academy
Bill Grant: “Great visit round the new Ayr Academy. Proud to have been part of a council that invested heavily in new schools right across the area.”
Bit of selective dementia Bill. Nowt to do with your council. It is thanks to the First Minister and Scottish Government who provided the funding enabling the building of the academy through the “Schools for the Future Programme”.
Construction of the £25million school began at Ayr’s Craigie Estate in January 2016. The building was officially opened, (with young people and parents among the 180 guests on the night) by John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.
Its eye-catching replacement has space for up to 1,000 pupils, and features two learning plazas, a multi-use hall, two gyms, fitness/movement room, and sports pitches. The project is part of a £94million pipeline of works being delivered across South Ayrshire in the next year, with the aim of enhancing standards through targeted investment.
John Swinney said “At the outset of our £1.8bn Schools for the Future programme in 2009, we originally aimed to build or refurbish 55 schools across Scotland – we have now more than doubled that commitment and it is fantastic to see so many of these wonderful buildings, like this one here in Ayr, now coming into use. More widely, since 2007 we have completed 651 school building projects, which is almost double the amount completed over the preceding eight years. This is part of our aim to provide our children and young people with inspiring environments which enable all of them to engage with their learning and, which in turn, help to raise attainment. It is great to hear the positive reaction of staff and pupils at Ayr Academy to their new school and I wish them all the best for the future.”
Councillor William Grant, said the event was a unique opportunity to see the building, “This fantastic new building has been warmly welcomed by the community, with many of them invited as special guests to celebrate the start of a new era. You can see that young people have been energized by their new surroundings, with staff now looking to deliver a step-change in the way lessons are delivered. The official opening was a great night with a lot of pride on display as pupils performed for the invited guests. And as the fanfare subsides teachers are now focusing on the important task of enhancing education standards and delivering better results for the community.”
14 Sep 2017: Bill Grant: A proclamation: “Under this Conservative government, unemployment is at its lowest level since 1975. Over 3 million more people are now in work since 2010.”
Comment: Typical “smoke and mirrors” statement from someone whose income is well protected by the state: Chronic “underemployment” is slowly replacing the role outright joblessness used to play in the labour market. There has been a 400% increase in the number of people on zero-hours contracts since 2002. One million people in part-time work can’t find full-time jobs. There are now twice as many “underemployed” workers as unemployed workers. Underemployment has increased since 2002, while unemployment has declined. (http://uk.businessinsider.com/ons-underemployment-double-unemployment-rate-2017-9)
17 Sep 2017: Nearly All People Transferred onto the Tory Universal Credit Benefit Are Facing Eviction
After a Department for Work and Pensions report showed that one in four new benefits claimants were waiting longer than 6 weeks to be paid any money, a new investigation carried out by the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has blown these figures completely out of the water.
In their new report, the CAB revealed that a staggering 79% (4 our of 5) of people currently on, or waiting to be on, universal credit are at risk of eviction because they have missed rent or council tax payments. They are also at risk of having their energy supplies cut off because as they have no choice but to skip bills.
As Universal Credit is introduced, ministers continue to be urged to pause the dramatic welfare reform that sees seven benefits rolled into one. The DWP is under pressure from charities, landlords and MPs – and yet are still perversely progressing with its nationwide release. (Evolve politics)
Comment: An all-party report raises fears over workability of Universal Credit yet Bill Grant and his Tory colleagues continue to laud its benefits. The Commons work and pensions committee said the government has yet to produce a full business case justifying universal credit, seven years after the programme started, and there remains considerable uncertainty about its costs and benefits. Government ministers have have produced no evidence to back up the key, central economic assumption of the biggest reform to the welfare system in 50 years. The committee warned that the improved job outcomes the reform promises are uncertain, while anticipated taxpayer savings rely on it becoming increasingly automated and “industrialised”, despite evidence that significant numbers of claimants find it difficult to access and use the digital-only system.
Universal credit aims to roll six major working-age benefits into one monthly payment, including job seeker’s allowance, tax credit and housing benefit. It has been criticized for design flaws and administrative errors that have left thousands of poorer claimants at risk of poverty, debt and rent arrears. The Office for Budget Responsibility said last month that political uncertainties and problems with the design and implementation of the much-delayed project, currently around five years behind schedule, meant universal credit presented a “significant risk” to public spending.
Many billions of pounds have been written off to this debacle since Ian Duncan Smith first muted it many years ago and still Bill Grant and his ilk insist it will all be for the better in time. But who’s betterment? A Scottish Tory member of the cross party Commons Work and Pensions committee recently praised the Universal Credit (UC) roll out claiming it eased claimants into work mirroring the benefits of employed income. Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tGsb9TA6Tc
6 Oct 2017: Bill Grant: Housing is a Tory Priority
Housing has always been a Conservative Party priority, as can be seen from election campaign posters. The PM pledged ‘ a new generation of council houses’ and increased the government’s affordable housing budget by £2 billion, to more than £9 billion.
Of course, housing is devolved to the Scottish Government, but I note Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson believes there should be a new housing infrastructure agency in Scotland, wants a housing minister at Holyrood, and aims to build 25,000 new homes annually.
Alison Thewliss (SNP) said in the Commons: The Scottish Parliament has delivered more than 69,500 affordable homes since 2007, during the period of SNP government, and the new-build social sector completion rate is at 72 per 100,000 population, compared with just 49 in England. And why was there no commitment to increase social rented housing in the Budget?
Comment: But the facts are that house building under the Tories is at its lowest level since the 1920’s
An analysis of house building going back more than a century shows the most recent years of Conservative rule has seen the lowest average house build rate since Stanley Baldwin was in Downing Street in 1923.
According to figures compiled by the House of Commons Library, an average of 127,000 homes a year have been built in England and Wales since the Tories took office in 2010. This is the lowest level since Baldwin’s first stint as Prime Minister in 1923, when just 86,000 homes were built.
A political commentator said: “These humiliating figures show that Ministers’ promises on housing have been nothing more than empty words. Official statistics confirm that since 2010 not only have Conservative Ministers built many fewer homes than claimed and after seven years of failure the Tory’s have no plan to fix the housing crisis. (Huffington Post)
18 Oct 2017: Grant Exchanges Views with Constituents
Bill Grant MP posted: ‘Heaven forbid Grant has to slum it’!? Grant’s a wee boy from Rankinston with no backside in his breeks. But you’re right about one thing ladies, I don’t see the point of arguing with folk on social media. I try to be non-political and informative, and that was the intention of this post.
Georgie Dawson: You may have came from Rankinston with no backside in your breeks, but you are a long way from there now, seemingly forgetting what you learnt from your roots. I grew up in Dalmilling, and I was always told not to sh*t in my own backdoor as it will come back to bite you on your ass, but you don’t seem to understand this, and voted against a public sector pay rise which affects firefighters.
Since this was your job, you basically stabbed your colleagues in the back, and told them that they aren’t worth a decent wage. As for being non-political and informative, you mention the Tory party in many of your posts, where the government has supposed to have made all these major steps forward, when actually it is only one side of the story.
As for the content of this post, mentioning “helping where we can” is gonna get people’s hackles up because there are children here suffering from malnutrition purely because of the the decisions made by your Government.
So maybe you should start thinking about what you post, and the real truths behind the statements, because, as someone who works with statistics, I know how easy it is to make things say what you want while hiding the awful truth that is hiding in the shadows.
Bill Grant MP: Georgie, you’re clearly a person with deeply-held views, and I applaud you for that. I absolutely want to see pay rises for working folk, across all sectors, and you do to, so we’re not a million miles apart.
It’s easy to forget the recession of 2008 was the worst since the 1930s. Both the UK and Scottish governments observed pay freezes, followed by the one per cent cap on public sector pay.
Now, despite a recovery, come the challenges of Brexit.
However, I believe we’re very close to seeing the cap lifted. Also like you, I don’t want to see anyone living on the breadline. There are clearly issues with the implementation of Universal Credit which require to be addressed – and they will be.
Georgie Dawson: Mr Grant, without any disrespect in this comment, I must disagree that we aren’t a million miles apart in what we want to see happen. It is just a matter of political viewpoint, you are right wing, I am very much left wing. Yes there is common ground, but there is a large degree of difference in what action we want to see within that common ground.
I want everyone to be earning a living wage of around £10/hr. I want free childcare for all, free school meals for all, free sanitary products for women. I want to see the highest earners paying far more tax than they do now, all businesses and large corporations held to account over tax avoidance, all tax avoidance schemes being made illegal. The NHS to go back to the way it was originally supposed to be, no private companies involved, no large trusts taking huge wages home when that money could be getting pumped into equipment etc.
So we are definitely poles apart, and always will be. However, if you do want the things that you say, then do what’s right, vote for pay rises, vote against benefit cuts, vote against Universal Credit. Yes, that may mean going against the party whip and getting a bollocking for it, but sometimes doing what is right is worth it. As for your staff member, (Edwin Lawrence) his comments were inflammatory, disgusting, and downright dangerous.
People need to feel that they can ask for help without being judged or labelled, and his attitude flies in the face of that. I honestly believe that a person with such an attitude is detrimental to public service,and the fact that you haven’t condemned his comments is disturbing, and I have a feeling I’m not the only one.
Grace Garrity: None of them have the strengh to vote against their lords and masters
Nick Larkin: To Bill Grant MP. I have rarely read such breathtaking hypocrisy as is contained in your response to Georgie Dawson.
You purport to support wage rises for all sectors and remind us of the recession of 2008 with accompanying, at best, pay freezes for most.
I am sure I am not alone in remembering the recession of 2008 when you and your colleagues at South Ayrshire Council capped staff ‘cost of living’ salary increases at 1% while awarding yourselves as Councillors a pay rise of the order of 8% and at the same time…..at the same time… reducing the time when the Council sat in session in a year, by three weeks……..big pay rise for less work.
It was some time ago so I apologize if the figures are not absolutely accurate but they are not far off and certainly display the outrageous hypocrisy in Bill Grant MP’s post in response to Georgie Dawson.
I will leave it to readers to decide whether your actions indicate that you look after number one, first and last and de’il tak the hindmost? Many of us who really care about this area and its people have long memories even if you may not.
Nick Larkin: To Bill Grant MP: You say you strive to be non-political in your official MP’s Facebook Page. Do you realize just how ridiculous is that statement?
It is akin to Pep Guardiola, in the official Manchester City FC Manager’s Facebook Page saying “I strive to talk about anything but football in this Page” It’s a new level of Bonkers and your advisors must be telling you to rethink that nonsense.
Edwin Lawrence: I’ll bet Pep doesn’t seriously talk football on a Facebook page. He’s not going to reveal tactics, formations, injury fears etc. Jurgen and Jose might see it!
Nick Larkin: To Edwin Lawrence: I understand your flippancy which is not amusing. Bottom line, though, is that for an MP to strive to avoid talking about politics on their official MP’s FB Page is simply a new level of bonkers.
On a more serious note….I do not imagine Bill Grant MP will stand again but you and your reputation, by association, will remain. Please, give your continued involvement with Bill Grant MP a great deal of thought.
Bill Grant In the House of Commons
Grant has spoken in 44 debates, received answers to 3 written questions and voted in 95.73% of parliamentary divisions (always with the government) since joining Parliament.
I have selected 2 debates for comment but there are many more incidences of his extreme right wing views and cavalier attitude towards Scots whom he claims to represent.
To gain a better understanding of his motivation log on to ; (https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/25643/bill_grant/ayr%2C_carrick_and_cumnock)
5 Feb 2018: NHS Winter Crisis Debate
David Linden SNP: Scottish National party Members want, first and foremost, to put on record our thanks to NHS staff. A number of members of my family work for the NHS. I spent time with them at the weekend, and we got that time because they were working over the Christmas period.
We know that Christmas and the winter period has been profoundly challenging due to flu, but it is important that resources follow that. That is why we have record funding support for the NHS in Scotland and NHS Scotland A&E departments are the best performing in the UK.
Last week, the Scottish Parliament voted to abolish the public sector pay cap and to look at bringing in a 3% pay increase for our public sector workers. That is action, rather than warm words.
Far too often we hear warm words from this Government, but in the National Health Service we need to see action, particularly on the public sector pay cap. What steps is the Minister taking to tackle wage stagnation within the national health service?
Stephen Barclay Tory: Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care): I thank the hon. Gentleman for his mature approach, in recognizing the huge amount of work performed by NHS staff. Indeed, as I pointed out, 1,200 more people a day are being treated in A&E, which reflects how much more is being done in our NHS with more resource, more money, more doctors, more nurses and more paramedics.
In terms of the specifics on money, the Government have given £1.6 billion to support performance improvements, which will be used to treat a quarter of a million more patients in 2018-19.
The NHS planning guidance also shows that it expects performance to improve in the face of growing demand. That shows how more is being done, and more needs to be done.
Bill Grant Tory: Could I reflect on the rather rosy picture that my colleague from the Scottish National party, David Linden, painted of the NHS in Scotland?
We have poor waiting times at A&Es, we are closing a pediatric ward in Paisley, and the chemotherapy unit at Station 15 in Ayr is under threat.
Does the Minister think that having the highest tax base in the United Kingdom is a threat to recruitment in NHS Scotland, and that higher taxes in Scotland might play to the advantage of NHS England?
Stephen Barclay Tory: Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care): It is not just about how much money is put into the NHS, but about the outcomes that are delivered as a result.
He is right to allude to the fact that in Scotland the SNP has not delivered the improvements it promised on the NHS. That is why there is so much dissatisfaction in Scotland with what is happening in the NHS there.
Comment: Absolute drivel from Grant. The voters of Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock are badly served by an MP driven by Tory Party doctrine rather than concern for his constituents.
I prefer to believe the information contained in the 2 publications below:
31 Jan 2018: Personal Independence Payments – A Debate in the Commons
Laura Pidcock Lab: I called for the debate because of my concern about the rapidly increasing level of casework my constituency office has to deal with regarding personal independence payments, (PIP).
A growing number of my constituents are finding many aspects of the process difficult, not because they are not capable but because the forms are confusing and the assessment procedure extremely complex and exhausting.
There are now many more face-to-face consultations, more regular reviews and more reassessments of awards than under the preceding benefit, disability living allowance, (DLA).
I asked people to comment and send me emails about their experiences, and I was absolutely deluged. I received more than 600 emails and 1,500 messages on Facebook and Twitter.
Most of those people took a great deal of time to tell me what had happened to them. Individually, their stories are shocking; collectively, they shame the Government and the Department for Work and Pensions.
They are testament to a broken and cruel system. Worsened following the introduction of even more complex regulations in 2017.
Stephen Kerr Tory: She mentioned her Twitter appeal and so on. An official survey shows that 76% of people in the system responded to say that they were satisfied.
That itself is not a happy position, but it shows that her representation of people’s average experience as wholly negative on the basis of a Twitter appeal does not reflect the results of a scientific survey.
Laura Pidcock Lab: What an absolute joke that is. To diminish those people’s experiences, which made me weep, is an absolute disgrace.
Those people took their time in extremely difficult circumstances to tell us about the difficulties with the system. To talk about another survey to try to diminish those experiences is disgraceful.
Luke Graham Tory: I would not necessarily disagree with some of the criticisms she is making of the assessment process.
Some of my constituents face those challenges, and we would be happy to work across the House to try to fix them.
But does she recognize that under PIP, 66% of claimants with mental issues now get the higher rate of benefit, versus 22% under DLA?
Can I ask her for a little balance when she comes to look at the system rather than just criticism?
Laura Pidcock Lab: The balance is that thousands of people are locked out of the system and never even get an award because they are so ground down by the process. The Government need to realize what a cruel and callous system they are putting people through and the knock-on effect that has on our constituents.
I am a bit shocked by the disbelief on the Conservative side—they look stunned that this is taking place. That is the reality for disabled people in this country. People are falling further into depression and self-harm, having suicidal thoughts and becoming reliant on food banks.
All of those things are harmful for our society. Losing Motability cars was a consistent theme, along with falling into debt. The NHS is also being put under much strain.
Bill Grant Tory: But the waiting time has been reduced by 40 weeks to 13 weeks in the past four years? That has to be an improvement.
Sarah Newton Tory: Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions: Accusations have been made today, about me as a Conservative and about all Conservatives, that frankly I am not going to accept.
It is simply not fair to say that Conservatives think disabled people are scroungers or do not deserve the support that we so want them to have.
Conservatives want to ensure that everybody in our society can play their full part. We want to support people with disabilities to do so. Judge us on our actions.
Ronnie Cowan SNP: the debate is of particular importance to my constituents and I have to say that I am disappointed at the state of the two Scottish Conservative Members who turned up to the debate with a clear intention to disrupt the opening speaker.
I note they then left the Chamber and have not contributed to the debate.
This is a timely debate, given the announcement that the UK Government are to review PIP claims, at a cost of £3.7 billion, by 2023.
It is hardly a surprise that the High Court concluded that the Government’s changes to PIP were “blatantly discriminatory” to those with mental health conditions.
That has been self-evident for some time. Of course, this disaster is of the Government’s own making: they tried to rip off the most vulnerable people in society and now we are all paying the price.
The taxpayer will have to foot the bill for those mistakes. What is the human cost? Claimants pushed to the edge and living their lives on the brink. When will the Government get anything right first time
Neil Gray SNP: PIP and other benefits are to be devolved to the new Scottish social security agency.
The Bill to create the agency is currently being debated in Committee in the Scottish Parliament.
The Scottish Government are seeking to make a number of changes to the way in which PIP is assessed to make sure that it treats people with dignity and respect.
First, the Scottish Government are seeking to make an automatic provision that would allow the agency to gather all the relevant medical or related information at application stage, which would reduce the number of face-to-face assessments, reduce the burden on the applicant and hopefully ensure that the correct decision is taken at the outset, rather than people having to go through the flawed mandatory reconsideration and appeal process in place at this time.
Secondly, the Scottish Government will ensure that private contractors are not involved in the assessment process.
There are a range of other measures that the Scottish Government will take to ensure that we get the system right for those seeking support.
In conclusion, hopefully the Minister will consider the new system in Scotland once it is up and running, hopefully before 2020 and that the UK Government will then look north and learn some lessons.
Comment Three Tory speakers, all Scots; contributed nothing but hot air to important parliamentary business. Evidently mischief time for persons with little to do. Grant’s assertion that 13 weeks is just about OK for a decision on benefit qualification appears to be atypical of his views and must be of concern to his constituents.