Falling ice forces first Queensferry Crossing closure

The crossing connecting Edinburgh and Fife is closed to all traffic until further notice.

Shut: Queensferry Crossing closed until Wednesday.
Shut: Queensferry Crossing closed until Wednesday.

The Queensferry Crossing is expected to remain closed until Wednesday, with more heavy snow and strong winds due across Scotland.

The bridge, which connects Edinburgh and Fife, was shut for the first time in its short history on Monday night as a safety precaution due to ice and snow falling from cables.

Meanwhile, the Met Office has issued an amber warning for heavy snow in southern Scotland, predicting vehicles could become stranded and rural communities “cut off”.

Running from 2pm to 9pm on Tuesday, it warns of up to 10cm of snow and winds reaching 50mph, creating blizzard conditions and drifts.

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Up to eight vehicles were damaged as a result of the Queensferry Crossing ice falls, but there were not thought to have been any major injuries.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said “a number of different factors coming together” had caused the issue.

He added: “Engineers have been closely monitoring and studying the unique weather conditions causing this issue with a build-up of snow and ice on the Queensferry Crossing.

“We are developing our understanding of these conditions, which involve a certain consistency of snow and/or sleet, wind speed and direction, interacting fluctuating low temperatures.

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“This is leading to an ice formation on the bridge’s towers and cables at low temperature which has subsequently fallen from the bridge when thawed.”

That closure, in both directions, is now due to remain until Wednesday and a diversion is in place via the Kincardine and Clackmannanshire bridges.

It is the first time the £1.35bn bridge has been closed since it opened in 2017. The Forth Bridge has remained open for public transport only.

Mark Arndt, of the crossing’s operating company Amey, said: “The decision was taken to close the Queensferry Crossing due to the severe weather conditions and risk of falling ice and snow.

“We are aware of eight vehicles that suffered damage due to falling ice and snow, however there have been no injuries reported.

“We appreciate this closure will create disruption for drivers, however, we are asking drivers to use an alternative mode or route for their safety due to the continued weather conditions.”

There will be no ferry services on Tuesday to and from Ardorssan and Brodick as ferry operator CalMac carries out sea trials.

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Part of the M74 was closed after a lorry overturned but the affected section of the motorway has since reopened.

It comes after disruption throughout Monday in the wake of Storm Ciara, which battered parts of Scotland over the weekend.

Snow showers are set to continue to affect the country, particularly over high ground.

Lorry driver stranded with mobile home

A lorry driver delivering a mobile home to a holiday park in Fife has been left stranded at the closed Queensferry Crossing.

Stephen Brooks arrived at the Edinburgh side of the bridge at around 9.30am on Tuesday while transporting the prefabricated building from the SEC in Glasgow to Pettycur Bay Holiday Park in Kinghorn.

The 44-year-old of Hull, East Yorkshire, can only carry the abnormal load along a route that has been agreed with Police Scotland, meaning he could be stuck there until the crossing reopens.

He told the PA news agency: “I loaded this morning at the SEC going to the Pettycur Bay Holiday Park.

“If you were where I am at the bridge you could see it from here.

“I’m not annoyed, it’s part and parcel of doing abnormal loads. I totally understand why the bridge is closed. So I’m not annoyed – yet – speak to me again at tea time.”

Woman’s shock at MND diagnosis following years of dancing

Natalie Rushton from East Kilbride initially thought her symptoms were dancing injuries.

MND Scotland via Email / STV News

A young woman who had danced from the age of two has spoken of her shock after being diagnosed with MND at just 21. 

Natalie Rushton from East Kilbride was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease five months ago, and initially thought her symptoms were injuries caused by years of dancing. 

“I just thought of people dying and that it was only for older people. I never thought younger people would have it. I was in shock to be honest,” Natalie explained.

MND is a rapidly progressing terminal illness, which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles. 

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This can cause sufferers to lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink or breathe unaided and there is no cure or effective treatment.

“What they said was it wasn’t a strain I was going to die of yet, it’s progressive muscular atrophy. My muscles are basically wasting away and at the moment it’s just confined to my legs,” Natalie said.

“They now say obviously it can reclassify if it starts spreading through the body.”

MND Scotland via Email
Natalie with mum Gillian, who has been a huge support since her diagnosis.

Natalie found her diagnosis extremely difficult, and decided to keep the news strictly to close friends and family. 

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She was forced to call her father who lives in Aberdeen to tell him the news, unable to see him in person due to lockdown restrictions. 

“For about two or three weeks I was very disengaged, not really talking. It wasn’t until about three weeks before it properly sank in with me when I did all the research.

“I didn’t stop crying for about two days.”

Natalie walks with crutches but now needs a wheelchair for any longer trips. 

Despite her diagnosis, she has gone on to raise more than £2000 for MND Scotland to help fund vital research. 

MND Scotland via Email
Natalie took part in a fun run to help raise more than £2000 for MND Scotland.

“There are days when I think I hope there is a cure one day, because even if it stops it just from progressing, it would make my life easier as well,” she said.

“I think, will I have leg use in six months time or is it just going to be five years time, because I just don’t know.”

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Iain McWhirter, MND Scotland’s  Interim Chief Executive, has thanked Natalie for sharing her story ahead of the charity’s 40th anniversary on June 23. 

“It’s important to remember that MND isn’t rare, with a lifetime risk being one in 300,” he said.

“That’s why during our 40th anniversary we’re appealing to the public to help us to fund even more research, so that we can find a cure much, much quicker.”

Natalie said that while she is scared of what the future will bring, she is determined to stay positive. 

“It’s scary to think that eventually my legs are going to go but at the same time, I know my legs are going to go eventually one day, so at the moment I’m just taking every day as it comes,” she said.

“I’ve been given this card so I’m just trying to make the most of life basically.”


‘Miracle treatment has stopped the tremors in my hand’

Ian Sharp no longer suffers from 'uncontrollable' tremors in his left hand after pioneering treatment.

STV News
Ian Sharp has suffered vibrations in his hands for more than 30 years.

A man no longer suffers from “uncontrollable” tremors in one of his hands after a pioneering treatment started being carried out in Scotland.

Ian Sharp, who first noticed vibrations 30 years ago, underwent a procedure at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

Within a few hours of the “miracle” treatment on his left hand, he was able to sign his name and hold a cup without spilling his drink.

The 66-year-old, from Moray, said: “Miracles do happen. I didn’t get my hopes up too much and thought there would be some improvement, but the tremor in my left hand has gone completely.”

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Dundee University raised £2m to buy the Magnetic Resonance-guided focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) technology, which uses sound waves to destroy the tissue that prompts tremors.

It will help patients, such as Ian, who suffer from ‘essential tremor’ – or dystonia – including those with Parkinson’s disease.

The non-invasive procedure is being provided free of charge at Ninewells and takes about three hours.

Ian, who hopes to have treatment on his right hand soon, said: “Afterwards I had lunch and a drink without any problem.

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“It’s difficult to break old habits so I was using both hands to hold the cup, but I can now do it with one hand without spilling anything.

“I was in and out of the MRI scanner several times as they pinpointed the correct part of the brain and I could feel the heat in my head, which was quite painful but worth it.”

‘It can be embarrassing’

Ian first noticed the tremors in his early 30s when his handwriting became “very scrawly”, before it began to affect eating and drinking – “anything you have to do with extended arms”.

“When I’m fishing, things like tying on a fly, which I used to do in ten seconds, can now take upwards of 15 to 20 minutes,” he told STV News before the treatment.

“Put the nylon through the hook and your hands start shaking and it all unravels again.

“I try not to rely on other people, so I persevere with that. Initially it can be embarrassing, but through the years you get used to it.

“The advent of swiping credit cards has been great because you don’t have to sign your name or even put in digits anymore.

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“If you’re carrying a cup or even a glass of wine, you don’t want to waste that, but invariably you end up getting to your seat and there’s nothing left.”

What is dystonia and how does treatment work?

Essential tremor – or dystonia – is a chronic neurological condition which causes ‘faulty circuits’ at the base of the brain.

That then prompts involuntary movements in the hands and arms.

Invasive surgery was previously required to mitigate severe tremors, but MRgFUS uses high-intensity, focused ultrasound to destroy the faulty circuits.

STV News
Dundee University raised £2m to buy the revolutionary technology.

‘Element of magic’

The procedure will be carried out once a month at Ninewells on patients who’ve been referred by a doctor.

Consultant neurologist Dr Tom Gilbertson said the treatment can make a “transformative” difference to people’s lives.

“We are bringing a standard of care to Scotland that is comparable with the best available anywhere in the world,” he said.

“People with essential tremor and Parkinson’s may not be able to feed or dress themselves, skills most of us take for granted. Within four hours, this treatment will allow these people to become largely self-sufficient again.

STV News
Consultant neurologist Dr Tom Gilbertson

“There is an element of magic about this. We are now able to go into the brain and remove lesions.

“Any previous treatment would have required an invasive procedure, something that not all patients are fit enough to undertake

“This is a significant change and a healthcare revolution for Scottish patients.”


School chef cooks up a storm to be named best in Scotland

Pupils at Stromness Primary School in Orkney say Karen Bevan's school meals are 'out of this world'.

STV News

A school chef has wowed judges with her culinary skills to be named the best in Scotland.

Pupils at Orkney’s Stromness Primary School are lucky enough to be treated to Karen Bevan’s gourmet meals every day of the week.

Ms Bevan has now been named as the winner of the School Chef of the Year in the Scotland section.

“I am really chuffed to get this far and will give it my all on competition day,” she said.

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“I already feel like a winner with the support given to me by the bairns at the school and the wider community, which has been lovely.”

Orkney Island Council Schools catering manager Scott Pring said: “We are delighted, although not surprised, that Karen has secured her place in the final.

“The school children that Karen serves up her food to daily have given her their firm seal of approval – stating that her food is “the best” and “out of this world”.

“Let’s hope the judges agree at the final!”

STV News
Karen Bevan has delighted pupils with her gourmet school meals.
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Ms Bevan’s award-winning menu’s main course was a vegetarian version of a Taiwanese-style pork dish, including a steamed bun with sticky vegetables.

Dessert, which rules stated had to be at least 50% fruit, was a filo pastry spring roll case, filled with a light raspberry cream cheese filling.

Ms Bevan’s meals, which she makes with as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible, have been a huge hit with pupils.

She will now compete to become the best school chef in the country at the national final in Birmingham in October.


Gove: PM will not grant referendum before general election

The Cabinet minister said it was ‘foolish’ to talk about an independence poll while the country is still recovering from Covid.

Peter Summers via Getty Images
Gove: He said it was ‘foolish’ to talk about an independence poll while the country is still recovering from Covid.

Senior Cabinet minister Michael Gove has said he “can’t see” Boris Johnson granting a new referendum on Scottish independence before the next general election.

Gove – who is responsible for countering the push for independence – said the Prime Minister’s focus was completely focused on recovery from the pandemic “for the lifetime of this parliament”.

His comments appear to go further than other ministers who have said that this is the wrong time for another referendum.

Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, the next general election is not due until May 2024 – although Johnson is committed to repealing the act which could allow him to go to the country before then.

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Asked in an interview with The Daily Telegraph whether there was “any circumstance” in which Johnson would approve a referendum before a May 2024 election, Gove said: “I don’t think so.”

Asked whether his position was that “there will be no referendum before the 2024 election”, he replied: “I can’t see it.”

After pro-independence parties won a majority in the elections to the Scottish Parliament in May, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was “a matter of when, not if” there would be a second referendum.

Gove’s intervention may heighten the chances that the SNP could try to hold a unilateral referendum without the approval of Westminster, which would almost certainly result in a legal battle through the courts.

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Gove however insisted that it was “foolish” to talk about a referendum at a time when the country was still recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Prime Minister is completely focused on making sure that, for the lifetime of this parliament, we increase economic opportunity, we provide people with the chance to make more of their lives, take control of their futures. And that’s quite rightly what the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom’s focus should be,” he said.

“It seems to me to be at best reckless, at worst folly, to try to move the conversation on to constitutional division when people expect us to be working together in order to deal with these challenges.”


Travel sector holding day of action in response to restrictions

A protest will take place outside the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.

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Travel: A protest will take place outside the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday.

The travel sector is calling for answers from the Scottish Government over why it feels it has been “sacrificed” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 250 members of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) and their associates, including airlines, tour operators and pilots, will protest outside the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday as part of a UK-wide Travel Day of Action.

They will demand sectoral support for travel, clarity over the data being used to ground travel, a plan for a safe return to international travel and a low-cost, easy-to-access testing regime.

It comes as a survey for the SPAA found that more than nine in ten (96%) Scots who travelled overseas between March 2020 and today felt very or fairly safe.

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Only 4% of overseas travellers felt “not very safe”, with no travellers reporting that they “did not feel safe at all”.

Joanne Dooey, SPAA president, said: “We’re hoping that the First Minister comes to meet us to explain why, despite a world-beating vaccination programme and easily accessible albeit expensive testing, we’re further behind at opening up travel than we were 12 months ago when we had no rapid testing and no vaccination.

“Our survey of ordinary Scots shows that almost two-thirds of Scots feel devastated, disappointed, confused or upset at the current travel restrictions and more than half (57%) would travel overseas within the next 12 months if they were able – with 17% of all surveyed saying they would be willing to travel in the next three months or sooner.

“We want the Scottish Government to show us their data, to trust the vaccine and to make testing more affordable.”

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She added: “The travel sector will be out in force to keep up pressure on the Scottish Government for support for travel agents during this disastrous ordeal for our whole industry.

“We’ve challenged the First Minister to come and meet us so we can explain why we feel that our businesses and the wonderful people we employ seem to be being sacrificed.”

The OnePoll survey of 876 adults in Scotland was carried out this week.

It found that since March 2020 only 10% of those surveyed have been overseas, while 35% have cancelled at least one holiday, 28% have postponed and 17% have rebooked.

Seven in ten (70%) respondents said they usually travelled overseas at least once in a typical pre-Covid year, with almost a third of them going two or three times.

Jacqueline Dobson, president of Barrhead Travel, said: “Literally millions of people who work in the travel industry have lost their jobs, millions more fear for the future and are suffering every day while governments continue to restrict travel without constructive engagement or support for the industry.”

She added: “This is no idle warning – the UK travel industry is at risk.”

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A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We do not underestimate the significant impact the pandemic continues to have on the tourism sector, both outbound and inbound.

“International travel restrictions are important in limiting the importation of further cases of the virus, in particular new variants, which could undermine the rollout of our vaccine programme.

“Wide-ranging measures have been put in place to help the sector. Scotland is offering the most comprehensive non-domestic rates relief in the UK for retail, hospitality and aviation and this includes travel agents.

“We were the first country in the UK to extend 100% non-domestic rates relief into 2021-22.

“The business minister also met the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association and ABTA on Tuesday to hear directly the sector’s concerns and consider options.

“The financial challenges facing the travel agents’ sector cannot be resolved by the Scottish Government alone. A UK-wide solution is necessary in order to mitigate the financial challenges and we have written to the UK minister for business and industry seeking a dialogue on this issue.”


Calls to extend deadline for EU settled status rejected

Immigration minister Kevin Foster said the UK Government would 'not be extending the deadline'.

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Settled status: Plea from Scottish Government to extend deadline rejected.

A Scottish Government plea for the deadline to be extended for applications from European citizens wishing to remain in the UK post-Brexit has been rejected by Westminster.

Immigration minister Kevin Foster said the UK Government would “not be extending the deadline” of June 30 for those wishing to apply for settled status.

He pointed out that the scheme – which he hailed as a “genuine success” – has been open for applications since 2019, with EU nationals having been given “the time to apply”.

More than 5.6 million applications have been made to date under the scheme – including more than 276,000 from EU nationals living in Scotland.

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Foster said: “I want to be clear, we will not be extending the deadline.

“Put simply, extending the deadline is not the solution to reaching those people who have not yet applied, and we would just be in a position further down the line where we would be asked to extend again, creating more uncertainties.”

His comments came after Jenny Gilruth, the Europe minister within the Scottish Government, said a “backlog” of applications to the scheme was “deeply concerning”.

Gilruth complained that “hundreds of thousands of applications – many of which will very likely be from our fellow citizens who wish to stay in Scotland – have yet to be processed by the Home Office”.

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She stated: “It is just wrong that EU citizens who fail to apply by the deadline will suddenly become unlawfully resident in the UK.

“So the UK Government should make the common sense decision to extend the deadline, clear the backlog – and reform the scheme.”

Foster stressed anyone who applies by next week’s deadline will “have their rights protected until the conclusion of their application by law”.

He added: “Our message very much is for people not to delay, and apply as soon as they can.”

While he said that the “high number of applications” meant there were cases still being determined, the minister stressed that people who apply by June 30 “will have their existing rights protected pending the outcome of their application”.

The minister continued: “To ensure there is no loss of rights whilst applications are pending a decision, we are issuing a Certificate of Application to those who submit a valid application by June 30 which they will be able to rely on as proof to access their right to work or rent, when verified by the relevant Home Office checking service.

“They will also be able to enter the UK as a resident and continue to receive benefits and healthcare: essentially, nothing will change for them until their application is concluded.”

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He also said people would be able to make late applications to the scheme beyond the June 30 cut-off date, provided there were “reasonable grounds” for this.


Forth Road Bridge to be used as internet ‘digital highway’

A new fibre cable on the bridge will deliver faster internet to thousands of residents in South Queensferry.

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Internet: Forth Road Bridge to help bring ultrafast internet to South Queensferry.

The Forth Road Bridge is to be used for cable carrying ultrafast internet to the town lying in its shadow, creating a “digital highway”.

Openreach Scotland engineers will use a giant air compressor on Wednesday to blow a continuous, three-kilometre stretch of glass fibre right across the bridge at speeds of up to 60 metres per minute.

The new 16mm fibre cable – containing 432 tiny glass fibres, each a tenth the size of a human hair – will deliver gigabit-capable internet services to thousands of residents and businesses in South Queensferry.

A further two kilometres of fibre have been built to the bridge’s north approach, with the new network linking back to a main fibre hub in Inverkeithing, Fife.

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Katie Milligan, Openreach Scotland board chairwoman, said: “This is a unique moment for civil engineering in Scotland as two huge infrastructure projects come together.

“We’re building a new ultrafast digital highway – and going across the Forth Road Bridge is the fastest, most direct way to get it done.

“It’s impossible to join up spans of fibre on the bridge, so it has to be done in one long piece. It’s amazing to think that these tiny fibres will future-proof the internet for thousands of homes and businesses on the south side of the bridge for decades to come.

“This is a once-in-a-generation engineering task to make broadband fit for the future, and we’re proud to be literally bridging the digital divide across this iconic landmark.

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“As we saw during lockdown, good connectivity reduces pressures on our road network, and can cut emissions, by giving many Scots the ability to work where they live.

“It’s great to see the iconic Forth Road Bridge play a part in a new, digital era which, like the bridge itself, will serve Scotland for generations.”


Greens urged to include rewilding in any agreement with SNP

The Scottish Rewilding Alliance spoke out as talks take place between the two parties over a possible cooperation agreement.

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Lynx: The Scottish Rewilding Alliance spoke out as talks take place between the Greens and the SNP.

The Greens are being urged to make a trial project to reintroduce lynx to Scotland, as well as the widespread reintroduction of beavers, a key part of any future cooperation agreement with the SNP government.

Talks are taking place between the two parties over the possibility of a formal deal – which Nicola Sturgeon has already indicated could potentially include the appointment of Green ministers.

As discussions over a deal, which would not be a full coalition, continue, campaigners said including a commitment on rewilding would be seen as a sign the Greens could achieve “real change”.

The Scottish Rewilding Alliance noted that the Greens’ manifesto for the May election supported “the gradual reintroduction of species native to Scotland where appropriate and in cooperation with local communities, including a lynx reintroduction trial”.

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The Eurasian lynx was driven to extinction in Scotland between 500 and 1000 years ago.

The creatures have now been reintroduced to some parts of Europe, including in areas used for farming, hunting, forestry and tourism, with research suggesting the Highlands could be home for around 400 of the big cats.

Campaigners argue such a move would help restore balance in nature, by controlling roe deer numbers – with these being the lynx’s preferred prey.

Scottish Rewilding Alliance convener Steve Micklewright said: “The Scottish Greens have committed to restoring nature through rewilding, including a trial lynx reintroduction.

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“If they reach an agreement with the SNP that includes this commitment, many will see this as a sign they can achieve real change through cooperation.

“A trial reintroduction of lynx will have very strong public support and there would be no clearer signal that Scotland intends to become the world’s first rewilding nation.”

The Scottish Rewilding Alliance, a coalition of more than 20 environmental organisations, is calling on the Scottish Government to declare Scotland the world’s first “rewilding nation” – with rewilding taking place within 30% of the country’s land and seas within a decade.

Polling for the group showed more than half (52%) of Scots support a pilot reintroduction of lynx, with just 19% opposed to this.

While beavers were reintroduced in Scotland in 2009, the poll showed 66% supported their wider relocation – with campaigners claiming there are a possible 100,000 hectares of potential beaver habitat in Scotland.

Mr Micklewright said that local communities and landowners wanted the “benefits” of beaver reintroduction, such as reduced flooding.

He said: “Public opinion is in favour of beaver relocation and we have huge areas where they could be moved to. The Greens must ensure that this can happen.”

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Scottish Greens environment spokesman Mark Ruskell said: “We won’t provide a running commentary on cooperation talks with government, but clearly we committed to restoring Scotland’s natural environment in our manifesto, and we recognise that means urgent and transformative action, including reintroducing lost species.”


Holyrood’s delay in taking up welfare powers ‘regrettable’

The Scottish Affairs Committee lamented the decision to put off plans to assume full control of disability benefits.

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Holyrood: The Scottish Affairs Committee lamented the decision to put off plans to assume full control of disability benefits.

Devolution of welfare powers is working well despite “highly regrettable” delays by the Scottish Government taking control of some benefits, the Scottish Affairs Committee has said.

The Westminster committee has also called on the UK Government to make the £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent, while warning that plans to expand the Scottish Child Payment could be in jeopardy if problems identifying eligible families were not solved.

Following its review of the welfare system, MPs lamented the Scottish Government’s decision to delay plans to assume full control of disability benefits, including pushing back the proposed replacement of personal independence from this year to 2024.

The report, published on Wednesday morning, stated: “The delays to the rollout of the devolved benefits until 2025 are highly regrettable.

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“Although this delay can be blamed in part on Covid-19, the largest delays were announced in 2019 — a delay from 2021 to 2024.

“The committee regrets that the Scottish Government and Social Security Scotland have been unable to become fully operational within the originally proposed timeline.”

In addition to maintaining the £20 Universal Credit increase that was introduced during the pandemic, MPs recommended raising the amount of moneys claimants can earn from employment “to allow them to work their way out of poverty”.

The committee praised the working relationship between two governments on the devolution of more welfare powers but warned the “most pressing data sharing issue” related to the planned expansion of the Scottish Child Payment to children aged six to 16.

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Giving evidence, the Scottish Government’s former social security secretary, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) had not been able to provide the relevant details to identify who may be eligible in the older age groups.

She added that the Scottish Government “cannot deliver the Scottish Child Payment for six to 16-year-olds without data from the DWP”.

Ahead of the report’s publication, chairman of the Scottish Affairs Committee, the SNP MP Pete Wishart, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has led to rocketing unemployment, resulting in more people in Scotland than ever before turning to the social security system.

“This has therefore been an opportune time to examine the full environment and eco structure of social security and welfare in Scotland.

“What we heard was that the devolution of benefits is working well, and we commend the Scottish and UK governments working together to make this a success.

“However, we also heard that it is incredibly complex to unpick what claimants can access under both systems.

“Communications must be improved, and staff appropriately trained to offer consistent advice to claimants in their time of greatest need.”

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He added: “Worryingly, our committee heard how the support provided by benefits such as Universal Credit is simply not enough for families to feed themselves, and we urge the UK Government to review making the £20 weekly uplift permanent.

“Based on what witnesses told our committee, it is incomprehensible that sanctioning for failure to adhere to a claimant commitment during such a challenging year for people must stop immediately for at least the remainder of 2021.”

A UK Government spokeswoman said: “As the committee recognises, we are delivering on devolution and will continue to work closely with the Scottish Government as they move forward with devolved benefits.

“The UK Government has already provided billions in additional welfare funding to millions of families during this pandemic and Universal Credit will play a crucial role as we build back better.

“We know that the best route out of poverty is well-paid work, which is why our multi-billion plan for jobs is helping people across the country back into the workplace.

“We will consider the findings of this report and respond in due course.”

Director of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, John Dickie, said: “Social security plays a vital role in preventing child poverty and MPs are absolutely right to highlight how critical to hard-up families it is that the UK Government maintains the £20 uplift to universal credit.

“Cutting that support would push an estimated 22,000 children into poverty in Scotland alone.”

On the problems facing the Scottish Child Payment, he added: “The payment is already proving a hugely welcome source of support to families with children under six.

“With a quarter of Scotland children still living in poverty, rolling out the new payment is crucial to progress against our legally binding child poverty targets.”


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