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Politics – Named Persons

May 2016

Scottish people are divided when it comes to the controversial Named Person scheme, research commissioned by The Times and Unison has found. Named Persons is set to come into force this August and provide every child under 18 with a state-appointed guardian.

Unison which represents public service workers found more than 50 per cent of health visitors surveyed in April this year believed the scheme is ‘not a good thing’.

In the survey, carried out among 1,000 UK adults by pollsters YouGov in March, it was found 48 per cent of Scots opposed the scheme and 26 per cent were strongly against it. The figures also revealed 35 per cent of SNP supporters were against the scheme, while just 44 per cent backed it.

According to The Times, opposition has become evident across the political spectrum, with 63 per cent of Labour voters and 74 per cent of Conservative voters opposing it.

Simon Calvert, deputy director of the Christian Institute and spokesman for the ‘No to Named Persons’ campaign, said the Scottish government has not won in the ‘court of public opinion’.

He said, ‘This is bad legislation which can bring no good; only one in three Scots agree with it. Supporters of the Named Person are losing the argument. The more people hear about the Named Person, the less they like it’.

He added, ‘Governments have to take people with them, especially over something as sensitive as this. There’s no way they can impose a state guardian on every family in the country, when only a third of them want it’.

In March, speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, Scottish Labour MSP Jenny Marra said she had changed her mind and ‘would not vote to support the legislation again’. This came after a legal case against the plans reached the UK Supreme Court.

During the court hearing, judges were told the plans bypassed parents, and that the legislation was so complicated it was like ‘wrestling with an octopus’. A decision is expected from the judges in the coming months.

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