Salmond attacks Labour's change on welfare


Alex Salmond attacked Labour's shift in position on welfare during first minister's questions on 6 June 2013.

The first minister insisted the "something-for-something society" offered by the SNP would help it win this month's Holyrood by-election.

Mr Salmond attacked the Labour Party after its UK leader Ed Miliband pledged to cap welfare spending.

Ms Lamont in turn claimed the SNP's drive for independence was "going nowhere" and accused the First Minister of avoiding the issue while out on the campaign trail in Aberdeen Donside where voters go to the polls to elect a new MSP in two weeks' time.

"Isn't it the case that independence is the First Minister's passion but every time there is an election it becomes the love that dare not speak its name?" Ms Lamont asked.

But Mr Salmond insisted his party would win the Donside seat which was held by Nationalist Brian Adam who died from cancer.

He said: "The whole onus of the SNP programme is a something-for-something society. To hold society together, like universal benefits, the benefit to household incomes from the council tax freeze, from free prescriptions, the benefits from students not having to pay tuition fees, the benefit of free personal care, the benefit of free transport."

The Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson repeated her call for a public inquiry into the baby ashes scandal, insisting the case was now stronger than ever.

Ruth Davidson asked Mr Salmond the same question last week and was told to submit a formal request which was received last night.

An independent commission, led by former high court judge Lord Bonomy, has already been established.

It emerged last December that Mortonhall crematorium in Edinburgh secretly buried the ashes of babies for decades without the knowledge of the families.

Former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini is already chairing an investigation into practices at Mortonhall.

Ms Davidson said: "On reflection, the first minister must surely agree that this matter which has caused so much distress to hundreds of families across Scotland, not just in Edinburgh and the Lothians, should have the same kind of investigation on a similar scale as public inquiries he's set up in the past."

Mr Salmond said he had confidence in both investigations by Lord Bonomy and Dame Elish Angiolini.

"When Elish Angiolini has reported, when the Bonomy commission has established for this Parliament the best practice that can quickly be introduced across Scotland to assure us that this sort of thing shall not happen again, then of course we'll weigh carefully if there are outstanding matters that require to be investigated," he said.

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