Rachel Reeves sets out the benefits of being in the UK

Shadow Work and Pensions Minister Rachel Reeves has today set out the advantages of being part of the UK on pensions and welfare.

At a visit to Royal Strathclyde Blindcraft Industries, she outlined the benefits of pooling resources and sharing risks for pensions and set out a series of pledges to improve the lives of Scottish disabled people

Labour will:

  • Scrap the costly and unfair Bedroom Tax
  • Devolve control over the Work Programme to Scotland
  • Transform the Work Capability Assessment
  • Get a grip of the huge Personal Independent Payments backlog
  • Make rights a reality for disabled people in Scotland


Rachel Reeves said:

'Being part of the UK means that people in Scotland are able to pool risks and share resources across the UK economy of 63 million people, rather than just 5 million people. This is vital for the future of our pensions and welfare system and will mean we are far better placed to support the most vulnerable in our society.

“Tory policies and the SNP's plans for separation will leave Scots worse off, and it will be those with the least who stand to lose the most. Labour is committed to building a welfare system that provides dignity and security, protecting the vulnerable and helping people into work.

'A Labour government will work hard to improve the lives of disabled people in Scotland by scrapping the Bedroom Tax, devolving control over the Work Programme to Scotland and reforming Personal Independence Payments and Work Capability Assessments. This is real change which Labour will deliver in Government."

9th July 2014


Labour’s five pledges for disabled people:

  1. Abolishing the Bedroom Tax. A Labour government will scrap the costly and unfair Bedroom Tax which has a disproportionate effect hundreds of thousands of disabled people and their families. 30,000 people claiming sickness benefits (Employment Support Allowance] in Scotland have already been hit by this unfair tax
  2. Devolving control over the Work Programme to Scotland so that we make better use of charities and social enterprises. The government’s top-down Work Programme based on big contracts signed in Whitehall has not worked for disabled people. Only one in twenty people claiming sickness and disability benefits are getting sustained jobs through the Work Programme.
  3. Transforming the Work Capability Assessment. Labour repeatedly called on the Government to sack ATOS with immediate effect and we were pleased that they will exit their contract to deliver Work Capability Assessments. Over 300,000 people have been through a Work Capability Assessment in Scotland since 2010. Labour will improve the quality of the assessments by getting tough on failing contractors with penalties when they get assessments wrong. We will give disabled people a real say in how Work Capability Assessments are run with a place on the review body. And we will help disabled people back to work with a more joined-up system and better information from Work Capability Assessments about employment support.         
  4. Getting a grip of the huge Personal Independent Payments backlog. Labour has called on ministers to set a time limit for making disability benefit assessment decisions. Currently thousands of people are spending month after month waiting for their claims for Personal Independent Payments to be checked, the backlog is so big it will take the government 42 years to clear at the current rate. These unacceptable delays will affect the 200,000 people in Scotland who currently receive Disability Living Allowance.
  5. Making rights a reality for disabled people. The UK government signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities under Labour, and we are committed to making those rights a reality. We will ensure disabled people have a real say in the policies that affect them, and undertake rigorous equality impact assessments of all policy proposals.