Salmond pledges 'bedroom tax' reverse


Alex Salmond promised that the under-occupancy charge - the so-called "bedroom tax" - would be abolished in the first year of an independent Scotland, during first ministers questions on 13 June 2013.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont had asked the first minister about a report from the Expert Working Group on Welfare, commissioned by the Scottish government, which recommended that an independent Scotland should continue to share the administration of pensions and benefits with the rest of the UK.

Ms Lamont suggested the first minister had perhaps "lost his mojo on independence" or thought the people of Scotland were "mugs".

She stated: "The truth is that the UK would control our currency, our economy and now our pensions."

The Scottish labour leader asked if SNP backbenchers might now set up a breakaway group; 'SNP for independence', because "the current plan is neither independence nor credible".

Mr Salmond said sharing the administration of a system does not mean having an identical policy within that system and gave the example of student loans, an area with shared administration but which delivered "two radically different systems" north and south of the border.

He said the reason he wanted independence was so that there could be "social justice for the Scottish people" and highlighted that the Labour party had no plans to repeal the charge.

In contrast, he continued: "This government will abolish the bedroom tax if we are elected as the first government of an independent Scotland. Not only will we abolish it, we will do it in the first year of that independent Scotland."

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson raised the issue of care costs.

A full audit should be carried out to identify everyone who has wrongly had to pay for care on the NHS, according to Ms Davidson.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie accused the first minister of keeping quiet the resignation of the Chief Executive the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) Andrea Quinn in February 2013.

He asked in particular: "Did your government tell Vic Emery to keep this quiet?"

Mr Salmond said he had no knowledge of anyone instructing the SPA convener to do so and said Mr Emery had stressed that a change in personnel was normal practise.

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