Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney has said he is “absolutely committed” to the Named Person scheme despite a growing swell of opposition, including from former SNP leaders.
Speaking ahead of a debate on the scheme at Holyrood today, Swinney – who is also Education Minister – admitted there are concerns about the policy.
Amidst calls to put a halt to the scheme he claims the answer is to “refresh” guidance for parents and relevant groups.
The Named Person scheme, due to come into force in August, assigns a state guardian to every child in Scotland to monitor their ‘wellbeing’.
Opponents have expressed alarm at the low threshold for state intervention and data sharing, and many argue it will draw resources away from where they are really needed.
The Deputy First Minister also came under fire after it was revealed that earlier this year he urged childcare professionals to ‘aggressively oppose’ any opposition to Named Person.
Aggression and intolerance
A spokesman for the No to Named Persons campaign (NO2NP) said: “The Government’s plans for a state guardian for every child in Scotland undermines parents and will overload professionals.
“The end result of this intrusive scheme will be to ensure that the most vulnerable children, those who most need the support and care of the State will fall off the radar.
“Despite this, John Swinney is putting forward the notion that anyone who disagrees with the Scottish Government’s ‘We know best’ approach to the happiness of children as laid out under the Named Person legislation should be dealt with through ‘aggression and intolerance’.”
This week Gordon Wilson, the SNP’s leader between 1979 and 1990, called for the scheme to be scrapped and blasted the party for their “stubborn refusal” to repeal it.
He pointed to a poll by the Daily Mail which found that almost two-thirds of Scots think the plans represent an “unacceptable intrusion” into family life.
Failure to listen to mounting public opposition, Wilson warned, will result in “long-term political grief”.
Attack upon the family
Jim Sillars, a former Deputy leader of the SNP, also spoke out against the scheme recently calling it a “colossal political hole”.
Writing in the Mail, Sillars said the Government has “succeeded in producing a law that many parents see as an attack upon the family”.
The Scottish Conservatives triggered a debate on the Named Person scheme today. To learn more about the plans, visit the Named Person scheme page on our website.
If you live in Scotland and are over the age of 16 you can sign NO2NP’s petition.