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The long and the short of it

Posted on March 20, 2014 by

Labour’s full Devo Nano policy document is now available, at an artery-clogging 298 pages. We’ll be having a good old wade through it today, because despite Johann Lamont’s comprehensive explanation of its contents on telly on Tuesday night, we still have a couple of minor queries over the precise details that we’d like to get definitively cleared up, and this should do it.

THE LONG VERSION:

“459. People on low incomes can get Housing Benefit to help with their rent. Until the introduction of Universal Credit, HB is administered by local authorities on behalf of DWP. So Scottish local authorities continue to play a pivotal role in the delivery of HB, and they work closely with DWP in doing this. In 2011-12, the total number of households in Scotland in receipt of HB was over 400,000, with expenditure amounting to £1.7 billion, representing 12.3 per cent of DWP benefits expenditure in Scotland.

This income is particularly important to those living in council and housing association houses. Overall, approximately two-thirds of the tenants in socially rented housing receive housing benefit. HB is thus an important tool of housing policy and element of the benefit system.  

460. Even with the espoused aim of Universal Credit to simplify benefits provision, HB remains closely entwined within a complex system. For example, when an individual is in receipt of income support, their income, earnings and capital will be disregarded for HB. These links are significant, but possibly more important is the overall contribution that HB makes to household income.

Moreover, there is an extremely complicated system of tapers, meaning that the level of benefits received reduces in line with earnings. This raises substantial questions on how to disentangle HB from Universal Credit and then devolve it.

461. However, equally importantly, obvious connections exist between HB and devolved policy. Above all, HB is the most important tool of housing policy in both the social and increasingly the private rental sector, and this is very much a devolved area. Scotland may well want to pursue a distinct housing policy yet the uniform UK-wide social security system makes this all but impossible.

462. Thus, HB is a very important aspect of the support for household incomes which is intended in future to be provided through Universal Credit, while simultaneously being closely linked to devolved housing responsibilities. It is clear that the overlapping responsibilities of the UK and Scottish Governments in this area could be better managed. One option, as recommended by the Calman Commission, was for HB to remain reserved, but because of the close links with devolved responsibilities, there might be scope for it to be adjusted to be different in Scotland.

However, as Calman recognised, any proposed Scottish changes would need to fit in with the general structure of the UK benefit system. Therefore, change could be proposed by the Scottish Government or Parliament, but this could only come about by agreement at the UK-level. Such changes might have financial implications and Calman proposed that, unless otherwise agreed, and in line with the established general principle, responsibility for meeting the costs of changes should lie with those who propose them, and similarly that if policy changes resulted in savings to the HB budget, then Scotland should be able to benefit from that.

463. The Calman Commission’s recommendations on housing benefit were not addressed in the Scotland Act. Now that Universal Credit is to be introduced, we believe that the issue requires to be revisited. The Scottish Parliament has full responsibility for all land and property matters, now including all property taxes.

As a consequence, it is possible to see how these policy instruments, along with HB once disentangled from Universal Credit, might be used in a more integrated way to develop housing policies and extend choices between the appropriate balance of capital, revenue and personal subsidies, thereby supporting broader housing strategy.

It is important however that the changes to what would in other parts of Britain be the housing related element of Universal Credit are developed in close collaboration with the DWP, so that the structure of incentives and the links to other benefits are not disrupted as a consequence of changes.

464. We take the view that Housing Benefit should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, and we agree with the general principle that a more strategic approach to housing policy would be made possible by empowering the Scottish Government to make decisions on the right mix between capital, revenue and personal subsidies. We will use this power to abolish the Bedroom Tax, ensure secure funding for the provision of social housing and reduce abuse by unscrupulous private landlords.

However, we recognise that in order for this to be achieved there are a number of administrative and operational practicalities, including those arising from the Coalition Government’s plans for the future implementation of Universal Credit, which will need to be overcome.

Specifically, it will be important that the devolution of housing support control is done in a way that ensures the tapering off of entitlement as those who receive the support increase their earnings is fully aligned with the tapers applying to Universal Credit to avoid negative work incentive effects. The policy will also have to be implemented in such a way that does not inject unacceptable risk from changes in demand for housing support to the Scottish budget.”

THE SHORT VERSION

“We would like Housing Benefit to be somehow disentangled from Universal Credit, even though it’s a fundamental part of it. Our specific recommendations as to how this difficult task should be achieved are oh look a squirrel!”

labskwirl1

Stay tuned for more powers with a purpose soon, readers!

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    77 to “The long and the short of it”

    1. Gray says:

      So here’s what Labour propose.

      Now can someone tell us how we can do this.

      Answers on the back of a fag-packet please.

    2. Edmund says:

      My preferred housing benefit policy would be to have a functioning economy and fair housing market, so that people aren’t facing such a stupidly high cost of living that they are forced to rely on government handouts.

      Wrangling about who gets to sign which bits of which benefit cheques is not going to solve the fundamental problems which have made the benefit necessary.

      It’s not a very confident read, is it? We think this but, maybe that, have to ask London, wait and see what happens before doing anything too risky…

    3. Grouse Beater says:

      @ Gray

      I must counsel that you check first to see if England owns the fag packet.

    4. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

      Nice squirrel.

    5. Bill Fraser says:

      Nuts, and I am not describing the squirrel’s dinner

    6. Macart says:

      Went straight to the short version. 😉

      Found it to be way more accurate and profound.

    7. mogabee says:

      Shocking!…but not surprising.

      Are there any Labour promises that were ever realised? Or are we to continually hunt for the non-existing jam in the small print.

    8. Gordon Hay says:

      I read that as Councils getting control of HB then finding ways of cutting payouts so they can then divert some of the HB budget to other purposes.

    9. Patrick Roden says:

      Ok lets see if I am beginning to understand ‘LabourSpeak’

      We want to abolish the Bedroom Tax, because we introduced it in the first place and have not voted against it, so it’s becoming a bit of an albatross around our neck…

      …However we cant do this because in England the people who are struggling will rightly say ‘wait a minute, are you telling me that we pay this bedroom tax but the scrounging Jocks don’t’?

      So we have added a caveat, that basically says that we wont introduce anything in our proposals that will put Holyrood out of kilter with the Westminster Parliament.

      Now London Labour have promised to abolish the Bedroom Tax so if Labour win the next general election, it would be abolished anyway…but if the Tory’s win then it wont be abolished cos we wont have the power and even if every single MSP voted for it in Scotland, it would fail our own test of putting Scotland at odds with England as far as tax goes.

      In other words: we are offering you jam tomorrow, but hope you are daft enough to fall for it again, because we are the Labour Party.

      ..Will You?

    10. The Man in the Jar says:

      Normally I read the entire text of Stu`s articles.

      In this case I will give it a bodyswerve and go with the squirrel.

    11. Aah, look at it’s big bushy tail. It’s lovely, so it is.

    12. Claire McNab says:

      Patrick Roden says: we are offering you jam tomorrow, but hope you are daft enough to fall for it again, because we are the Labour Party.

      Not really even jam tomorrow. More like sometime way down the road we would like to give you jam, if we can find bread and butter and a knife to spread it with, and if there is suitable plate available … and only if the neighbours agree and you haven’t lost the will to live from listening to the avalanche of words about jam.

    13. CyberNiall says:

      It would be great if, every time Labour wanted to avoid answering a question, they just nonchalantly placed a squirrel on the table.

      “I understand what you’re saying but *pulls squirrel out from inside jacket* I disagree. If I could just make a point about something else…”

    14. Robert Louis says:

      Here’s a cracker from Labour’s nonsense above;

      “However, as Calman recognised, any proposed Scottish changes would need to fit in with the general structure of the UK benefit system. Therefore, change could be proposed by the Scottish Government or Parliament, but this could only come about by agreement at the UK-level. Such changes might have financial implications and Calman proposed that, unless otherwise agreed, and in line with the established general principle, responsibility for meeting the costs of changes should lie with those who propose them..”

      So, even if people vote NO, and even if, Labour win the 2015 Westminster election, and even if Labour can convince enough Labour MP’s from rUK and Scotland in Westminster to vote for such a change, the bill for such a change would have to be paid entirely by Scottish taxpayers.

      Honestly, these proposals from Labour are such a crock of shit. They really, really are.

      Anybody who votes NO in the expectation of ‘more powers’ for the Scottish parliament is in for one helluva disappointment if there is a ‘NO’ result on 19th September.

    15. hetty says:

      This is such utter tripe, they do not know their arse from their elbow and are spouting verbal D!

      Maybe one day they will actually say something intelligent, even meaningful, frightening thing is they would like to run the shop!

    16. No No No...Yes says:

      I have just had a look at the Demolition Commission report on the SLAB website. You are cordially invited to add comments.

      As at 1141 a.m. this morning there were no comments about the report on the SLAB website whatsoever. I can only assume that nobody, including fully paid up members, wants to be publicly associated with its message of DEVO, what DEVO?

    17. Mosstrooper says:

      Yep, it’s a nice squirrel. My preference however is for a beaver. Just sayin’ like.

    18. FlimFlamMan says:

      @Edmund

      A functioning economy with affordable housing? Don’t be silly. If Westminster can’t keep inflating housing bubbles how are they supposed to grow the economy?

      Next you’ll be asking why rising food prices are called inflation and a cost of living crisis, but rising house prices are describes as ‘recovering’.

      The whole approach to housing in the UK is sick; one of many things that Scotland will have to fix. Or, looked at more optimistically, one of many things that Scotland has the potential to fix if it’s independent.

    19. Thomas William Dunlop says:

      Rev. Stu

      Don’t forget to take a ball of string to lay a path back out. Would want you to be lost in this labyrinth in inanity.

    20. Desimond says:

      298 pages…which Union agreed to fund this?

    21. Jimbo says:

      No doubt Johann will want to have a discussion, or form a focus group to have a discussion, or even set up a commission to have a discussion, as to how they should go about discussing how to discuss implementing this.

    22. Vincent McDee says:

      The integration of Housing Benefit within the Universal Credit is going to cause a catastrophic effect on the Social landlords, which is not general knowledge.

      UC is going to be paid directly to the benefit recipient, thus the HB component of it will not be credited directly to the landlords, as it is right now i.e. Councils Housing Dept. being compensated for their missing rents.

      This is going to leave up to the UC recipient the obligation to pay the rent and council tax to whomever they are renting from.

      Housing Associations are already budgeting for an increase in unpaid bills which nobody can really factor properly, particularly among the people already affected by the “eat or heat” option, because many will choose to eat and to heat their places, before remembering they have to pay the rent themselves too.

      The Law of Unintended Consequences is not widely understood by the DWP. IMO, of course.

    23. heedtracker says:

      “Specifically, it will be important that the devolution of housing support control is done in a way that ensures the tapering off of entitlement as those who receive the support increase their earnings is fully aligned with the tapers applying to Universal Credit to avoid negative work incentive effects.”

      It’s even crap English. Lamont was an English teacher right?

    24. Gordon Hay says:

      To expand on my point about HB funds being diverted to other uses, I’m taking bits like “(HB is)an important tool of housing policy” and “might be used in a more integrated way to develop housing policies and extend choices between the appropriate balance of capital, revenue and personal subsidies, thereby supporting broader housing strategy.”, above, and adding them to the “HB is a SOURCE of revenue” qote from the Newsnight carcrash as highlighted by the Rev in his earlir post on that.

    25. handclapping says:

      That is the full Midwinter. There must be other parts that have been written by other, I hesitate to call them more normal, people.

      But 298 pages, poor Stu!

    26. Reider O'Doom says:

      @Patrick Roden
      “we are offering you jam tomorrow”

      There is absolutely no jam being offered in the above document. There is some talk of jam, but we’re certainly not being offered any of it.

      Meaningless SLab Nuspeak garbage.

    27. Alan Gerrish says:

      At the Dunoon Indy debate on Tuesday night, Robert Shorthouse repeated ad nauseam that we are guaranteed extra devo powers if we vote No, which again is Labour Speak for the introduction of Calman (guaranteed) meaning the same as “extra powers” which haven’t a squirrel’s chance of being implemented.

      Having nothing else to contribute to the debate he also bigged-up the fact he was a “devolutionist” i.e. something much cuddlier than “British Nationalist”, which when added together with guaranteed extra powers is the pitch I expect Labour to spin in the weeks ahead: we’ll guarantee to give you extra devolved powers as that’s what you really, really want, not this scary Indy thing.

      Am I alone in thinking they now realise they’ve lost it and can’t be bothered trying any more?

    28. pa_broon74 says:

      The long version sounds like the yer-but-no-but-yer-but woman from Little Britain.

      Which is probably apt.

    29. Anthony Armstrong says:

      Forgetting that drivel, I would like to see the welfare and taxation scrapped and rebuilt from the bottom up.

      People, for example, going from £250 p/w to £300 p/w shouldn’t see most of that extra £50 disappear through lost benefits, we need a system that encourages and incentivises all areas of our society to go out and work, it’s barmy to me that politicians can see how raising the top rate of tax to 50p affects the high earners yet nobody appears to give a seconds thought to how taking far more than 50p in the £ off of a person on a low income affects them and their desire to work or work hard.

    30. Desimond says:

      @Alan

      a “devolutionist”

      It sounds so very regressive, poor Charles Darwin

    31. Schiehallion! Schiehallion! says:

      And a grey squirrel too: typical.

    32. MajorBloodnok says:

      Robert Louis noted: Such changes might have financial implications and Calman proposed that, unless otherwise agreed, and in line with the established general principle, responsibility for meeting the costs of changes should lie with those who propose them.”

      I noticed that too. So basically the Scottish Government would have to take money from elsewhere in its budget to fund any changes to the HB system – which is what the SG is currently having to do anyway to ameliorate the impacts of the bedroom tax. So no change there then. Devo-schmeevo.

    33. HandandShrimp says:

      Can I just proffer my thanks to Stu for reading this mince in order that I don’t have to.

    34. Vincent McDee says:

      I found this jewel at BBC Wales on the 18th of March:

      “Jackie Baillie, a Labour MSP and a director of the Better Together campaign, says there will be a big moment for the Labour Party in Scotland later in the month when it sets out what powers it will offer the people of Scotland in the event of a “no” vote.

      She said: “It’s a big moment for all of us. You don’t throw away 300-plus years of history as a United Kingdom without thinking very seriously about the consequences.

      “But I’m clear there are a lot of Labour voters who are undecided – we need to lead them in this campaign to preserve not just the United Kingdom but actually to get the best of both worlds so that we have a stronger Scottish Parliament.

      “I think that is what will work in the end so Labour needs to speak to its supporters very clearly about this.”

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-26635212

      Comments are allowed…in Wings

    35. HandandShrimp says:

      Actually, going back to the Panel Base Poll, just before the Gates of Hell were opened a month ago there were a two or three polls that showed that No were losing ground. The Record Survation poll last week and the Panel Base poll today show that they have ceded even more ground and that we are nearing a tipping point…

      All I am saying is look out for a lot of squirrels…some of them very, very angry.

    36. Mealer says:

      I think the term nano is being misused by the rev.I know nano is really,really small.If you plucked a hair from an angel dancing on the head of a pin,would that be roughly nano sized? Or is nano even littler? I don’t know.No doubt there will be a definition of nano on Wiki.However small it is,it’s a lot bigger than Ms Lamont’s ambition for Scotland or the additional powers she wants us to have.

    37. Malegria says:

      Suffering a severe case of MEGO (my eyes glaze over) after trying to read that. Thanks for the abridged version

    38. call me dave says:

      If there was even one redeeming feature in the 298 page document that could be extracted and used to bolster the labour cause the BBC and the paper based MSM would be splattering it in our faces.

      I’ll wait until our Scottish labour MP’s muscle in to the conference and get their take on it. Lamont is toast now and much networking is going on to get the next contender to step forward and pluck the sword from the Scottish stone.

      Not many high profile takers, until after the referendum on 19th September, when YES, there will be an unseemly rush to try their luck especially from our soon to be ex MP politicians.

      PS:

      Did you hear the Daily Record man on ‘Morning Call’ mention the delight and gleeful smile on Osborne’s physog as he threw in the oil scare statistic. I thought it was just me that noticed.

      The Aberdeen oil man caller was pretty blunt, contrasting the new developments and additional work going on in the North East with Osborne’s oil scare tactics.

      He said “Don’t believe it, it isn’t true”.

    39. MochaChoca says:

      OK… devolving housing benefit ought to be a plus for us.

      Assuming the current proportion of overall HB as split between rUK and Scotland is maintained, simply give it to the SG as a lump sum. It’s currently administered by local authorities, so there shouldn’t be much of an added overhead. But Scotland would be in a position to determine the policies by which it was distributed.

      The only fly in the ointment is the possibility of Westminster re-arranging the figures to present a lower rUK HB bill, thus reducing the amount available to Scotland. Good job we trust them eh?

    40. joe kane says:

      News of latest DWP IT management wonk to bite the dust –
      DWP CIO Andy Nelson steps down
      http://www.cio.co.uk/news/cio-career/dwp-cio-andy-nelson-steps-down/

      News of the latest implosion of a key component of IDS’s Universal Chaos –
      Universal Jobmatch Falls Apart – The First Nail In The Coffin Of Universal Credit
      http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/universal-jobmatch-falls-apart/

      It tells you something that the only people who publicly claim UC is viable are tory wingnuts like IDS and the Labour Party.

    41. MochaChoca says:

      PS with regard to the latest on the oil revenue forecasts:

      Since December ’13 the OBR have revised oil price forecast up (from $97.4 to $99.3 / barrel), but still well below other forecasting agencies.

      OBR Oil Production forecast unrevised at 39.2 million tonnes (290milion barrels) per year, despite industry forecasting a marked recovery in production levels.

      OBR do not take into account Wood Review which predicts ADDITIONAL production of 3 to 4 billion barrels (150million – 200million barrels per year over 20 years).

      And yet they have revised down their revenue forecasts by £3bn/year.

    42. sionnach says:

      CyberNiall says: they just nonchalantly placed a squirrel on the table

      Imagine the look on Gordon Brewer’s face the first time that happens.

    43. galamcennalath says:

      A not very profound thought … if enough people vote Yes then all this will just go away.

      Yes, in six month’s time we could be rid of all this inept Labour devolution more-powers-pretence nonsense and deceit. We won’t have to read it, we won’t have to listen to it, we won’t even have to think about it. Puff of smoke. Gone forever!

    44. Grouse Beater says:

      Chatting to vocation acquaintances yesterday, my wife overheard one woman from Aberdeen say she was voting No because, ” I dislike Sturgeon and hate Salmond.”

      Ignoring the character prejudice my wife asked if she understood what Westminster had in store for us if we voted No. The woman answered that to vote yes meant, “My taxes will go up.”

      “They are certain to rise with a No vote,” countered my wife, and worse. There will be nothing you can do about it, but if we secure autonomy we can dictate the pace and the prosperity.”

      A man in the group added, “I am very worried about the outcome of a No vote. We will be weaker than before, vulnerable to savage cuts and constraints to tame us.”

      Good man.

      I have to add that that is the sort of conversation I meet now, one that did not exist a year ago when the “Vote Yes? Over my dead body” brigade outnumbered the thoughtful.

      I hope I share that trend with others here.

    45. Tattie-bogle says:

      Sounds like they want to keep The GCC in brown envelopes and keep the GHA slum lords in place whilst sending some down the road to their City Building LLP group

    46. BuckieBraes says:

      It is amazing to witness how Labour has managed to reduce the question of our country’s sovereignty to all this jibbery-joo about taxation and benefits (important though those subjects are).

      They have set the bar so low that no right-thinking person can now possibly believe a No vote will result in any significant shift of powers from London to Edinburgh; and, what’s more, there’s no point in the Lib Dems and Tories trying to ‘trump’ Labour’s proposals. The ‘Better Together’ parties are supposed to be fighting shoulder to shoulder to save the Union, not compete with each other.

      If they are all going to agree a common approach regarding enhanced devolution, then Devo Nano is the best we can conceivably expect. Labour has made sure of that.

      The media will try their best with the ‘more powers’ spin, but they will have a job making a silk purse out of this sow’s ear.

    47. call me dave says:

      Oil and Gas prices are going up very shorty and is within Putin’s whim if he lifts the phone to the workers who stand next to the control valves.

      That situation has a blue touch paper waiting to be lit delicate naw!… volatile.

    48. Fiona says:

      HB isn’t income. So that is the first problem. Claimants get no benefit from it at all: landlords do.

      Universal Credit, with its cap, is in practice a cap on housing benefit. High rents are pretty much the only reason the cap would kick in. So the idea that housing benefit can be devolved while retaining Universal Credit is mince (unless the paper shows the advice from the “experts” Ms Lamont claimed to have received, and there is something substantive I have missed and which provides a mechanism). So the effect of Universal Credit is to ensure that the landlords continue to make a great deal of money, but to transfer the source of that money from general taxation to the poor.

      Osborne announced an absolute cap on the benefits bill in his budget

      The Labour spokesman interviewed on Radio 4 endorsed it: he said that the lack of economic growth over an extended period and the automatic stabilisers meant that the costs of benefits were rising and need to be controlled

      Certainly they need to be controlled: by full employment policies and measures to bring house prices back in line with earnings. But not by impoverishing the already poor, which is the strategy from all three mainstream parties.

      These people are despicable

    49. bookie from hell says:

      Carmichael now saying POOR deal Europe not a Burroso NO deal,sands shifting

      http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/scotland-would-be-hit-with-poor-eu-deal-carmichael-1-3347771

    50. joe kane says:

      It’s currently costing £225k per claimant to use IDS’s Universal Carcrash –
      Iain Duncan Smith’s doomed Universal Credit scheme cost £225k PER PERSON
      http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/iain-duncan-smiths-universal-credit-3115946

      The system is currently 6 times over budget with nobody really sure if that is a final figure –
      Universal Credit will cost taxpayers £12.8bn
      http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240185166/Universal-Credit-will-cost-taxpayers-128bn

    51. Jamie Arriere says:

      What a load of devorrhoea!

      We want to devolve a power to Scotland so that they do exactly the same as the rest of the UK, except the Bedroom Tax (which we didn’t mean to introduce, oops sorry!)

      Visit the taxidermist!

    52. Simon says:

      Amazing that they seem to think Universal Credit is still viable!

      Where can we order a hard copy of this report? It would be good to have a copy alongside my hard copy of “Scotland’s Future”. For balance, you understand.

    53. MajorBloodnok says:

      Carmichael is clearly a buffoon, although calling him one does a grievous disservice to buffoons.

    54. gordoz says:

      Vincent McDee : Well found

      Sums up Jackie Baillie through & through (Full of hot air)

    55. msean says:

      Please can someone make things more complex for us all,oh wait…

    56. Patrick Roden says:

      “Not really even jam tomorrow. More like sometime way down the road we would like to give you jam, if we can find bread and butter and a knife to spread it with, and if there is suitable plate available … and only if the neighbours agree and you haven’t lost the will to live from listening to the avalanche of words about jam.”

      If I could just point out, I was quoting my own version of ‘Labourspeak’ and haven’t for one minute believed we will get ‘Jam’ at any time from that bunch of liars in Scottish New Labour. 🙂

    57. tartanarse says:

      Finding Devo.

    58. tartanarse says:

      Universal? It hasn’t even been trialed properly. I don’t think it can even be called regional yet.

      DWP’s system can barely cope now without the add ons or complete replacements. In addition, the departments that will have to work together or merge do not have the foggiest about each others jobs.

      A good percentage of these folks can’t even do their own jobs.

    59. Brian Powell says:

      I have been pondering the possibility that Ms Lamont is too vacuous and too stupid to be depressed by her own failure.

      Very bad news for us.

    60. Papadox says:

      @Grouse Beater says:
      The I hate Salmond bit have herd many times. That attitude of supposedly mature intelligent people says a lot more about them that it does about Salmond. They apparently don’t even know what the referendum is all about, really pathetic! Are they stupid or just acting stupid?

      A friend of mine whose teenage grand daughter wants to go to uni is definitely voting NO. When I pointed out that she might have to pay up to £ 27k for her uni fees if she votes no, his comment was, “she’ll need tae get a job then”. He is a pensioner like me, his son is a care worker!

      I really do despare sometimes.

    61. X_Sticks says:

      Dev-illusion?

    62. Robert Kerr says:

      Papadox and others,

      I think the best response to these comments is ” You’re winding me up!” Then smile and shake your head.

    63. tartanarse says:

      Dev ulsion.

    64. Murray McCallum says:

      If this extract from Labour’s Devoid document is representative, it looks as if they basically rearrange the exact same words six different ways in six different paragraphs.

      A lot of words saying nothing.

      If ever a document summed up New OneNation Scottish Labour.

    65. ronnie anderson says:

      Rev,you,ve had a hard enough week as it is,just post up a

      link am sure we,ll cope,oor eyes might be bleeding fae

      readin,an oor ears stuffed fu o dye er ear, but that wont be

      for the 1st time,we,re big boys n girls,we,ll cope pit yer

      feet up, mair shite the morra Slab Conference.

    66. Morag says:

      Stu, please take a pay rise. I’m sure we’ve donated enough. I’d donate a bit more but I know you’d only squander it on more copies of your Blue Book or another village hall meeting.

      You deserve a wee bit of savings, maybe a pension contribution or two. And in late September, one hell of a holiday. Gleneagles is nice that time of year….

    67. Morag says:

      I heard an interesting reply to the “I hate Salmond” mantra.

      “Oh, that’s a shame. He speaks very highly of you.”

    68. Robert Kerr says:

      Ronnie,

      You really are a hero.

      “dye er ear”

    69. Muscleguy says:

      @SchiehallionX2!

      I take your point but the greys didn’t ask to be here and I think as cybernats we should be taking care of all the squirrels of Scotland. Until after the referendum anyway, then we can catch all the disease ridden greys and dump them over the border. A bit like unreconstructed Orangemen as featured previously.

    70. ronnie anderson says:

      @Robert Kerr, nay hero,s here,unless your funding the

      Chocolete tins,Ffs an tryin tae lose weigh, sos its a naw

      tae that tae,an ma mammay telt me no tae tak sweeties affa

      people lol.

    71. CameronB says:

      Grey squirrels? Another bloody gift from the Atlantacists. 😉

    72. ronnie anderson says:

      @CameronB,Atlantacists is that they people that live in a

      bubble under the Sea same as the london bubble.

    73. ronnie anderson says:

      Oh ah nearly hud Kidney Devine moment there.

    74. CameronB says:

      Ronnie
      Naw, your thinking of that ’80s rubbish with Patrick Duffy in it. I’m talking about those who have formed a special relationship with our former colonies across the pond.

      I suppose I can get a bit obsessive, specially when I’ve run out of my “slow me down” pills. 😉

    75. Helena Brown says:

      Right, I am not stupid, I normally can get to grips with most things, so if I am reading this right, the Labour Party want to devolve Housing benefit, which is not really a families income, well it wasn’t until IDS made a muck of it and people now get them money to pay their landlords with the rest of their income and surely only if you are stupid do you use that money as your income because you will suddenly find yourself evicted.Now I realise they, the Labour Party think we are all stupid, I cannot answer for their support, but how does this benefit anyone.
      Surely if you want to devolve any benefit it should be all benefits, indeed Welfare, but then of course we may go and do something different with that and that would never do.

    76. Indion says:

      Fiona @ 1245 – forensic.

      For fullest employment think living wages based on the real economy the way to reduce need for benefits and bill whilst increasing income and so taxes to fund best public services.

    77. goldenayr says:

      “This income is particularly important to those living in council and housing association houses. Overall, approximately two-thirds of the tenants in socially rented housing receive housing benefit. HB is thus an important tool of housing policy and element of the benefit system”

      Can someone explain how a council can charge more than their tenants can afford?
      Also,I believe that HB and CT allowance are collected and
      awarded differently.Surely it makes sense,to cut bureaucracy,to have both these systems in the one dept?



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