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Controversial ‘named person’ scheme dropped

November 2019

John Swinney
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Plans to give every child in Scotland a state-mandated guardian – undermining the role of parents – have been dropped by the Scottish Government.

Five years after the scheme was first proposed, Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced in Holyrood that it would not be going ahead.

The original proposal tasked state guardians with overseeing children’s ‘wellbeing’ and ‘happiness’. It allowed private data to be shared without parents’ knowledge. The press dubbed it a ‘state snooper scheme’.

The data-sharing provisions were struck down by the UK Supreme Court in 2016. In a devastating ruling judges said, ‘The first thing that a totalitarian regime tries to do is to get at the children, to distance them from the subversive, varied influences of their families, and indoctrinate them in their rulers’ view of the world’.

The Scottish Government reintroduced a watered-down version of the proposals and set up a task force to look at a code of conduct. But the scheme proved to be unworkable, and ministers have now conceded defeat.

Pro-family groups welcomed the U-turn. The Christian Institute’s Colin Hart said, ‘We give thanks to God for this decision, and I want to thank all our supporters who have prayed and worked towards this day over the past five years’.