Devolution of employment powers to tackle poverty
Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison has called on party leaders at Holyrood to back a bid for full devolution of employment powers to the Scottish Parliament to support post-pandemic recovery.
Writing in a letter to opposition leaders, Ms Robison also urged cross-party support for the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government to support a national mission to tackle child poverty and build a fairer and more equal country.
The Social Justice Secretary plans to write to the UK Government following this Tuesday’s parliamentary debate on tackling poverty and has asked party leaders to add their signatures to show their support.
She said the powers over employment law would enable Scotland to increase wages, reduce insecure work and create fairer workplaces and tackle child poverty.
Read the full letter below
Dear party leader
As you may be aware, I will lead the ‘Tackling poverty and building a fairer country’ Parliamentary debate on 8 June. I intend the motion to call upon on Parliament to agree that tackling child poverty and building a fairer more equal country should be a national mission for this government and parliament, and to agree the need for employment powers to be devolved to allow us to take further action to tackle poverty.
Whilst we aim to maximise the impact of investments made and support the radical shifts necessary to deliver upon our ambition, as you are well aware, many of the levers required are not at our disposal.
Scotland is at the forefront of policy development in respect of Fair Work, Inclusive Growth and developing an economy in which all of our citizens can participate. Securing the full range of powers in relation to employment will enable the Scottish Parliament to fully implement policies that will best meet Scotland’s distinct needs.
With employment powers reserved, the Scottish Government is limited in what action can be taken to make employers adopt fairer working practices that support workers to lead lives without poverty. Despite this, we have committed to a number of initiatives through our fair work agenda, including, the Scottish Business Pledge; promotion of the Living Wage; Workplace Equality Fund; and supporting the Fair Work Convention to name but a few. However the powers over employment law would enable us to create fairer workplaces, increase wages, reduce insecure work, and therefore shift the curve on poverty.
Therefore, following the debate on Tuesday, I intend to write to the UK Government to request that they transfer the full devolution of employment powers to the Scottish Parliament to enable us to make the changes required to transform workplaces and tackle poverty. I am seeking your support in this endeavour and to join me in signing that letter to show the cross party support there is for these powers to be given to our Parliament.
Employment powers would allow us to make the policy changes needed to support people and their families and deliver upon our shared ambition for a fairer, greener and more prosperous Scotland. Therefore I hope you will agree to support the Scottish Government’s call for these powers from the UK Government and I look forward to hearing from you.
SOCIAL JUSTICE SECRETARY