Cllr Kerr told the3towns that the UK Government’s Welfare Reform Bill would result in “hard-working taxpayers being abandoned when they fall ill.”
The former pupil of Ardrossan Academy continued, “It beggars belief that any person could work for 40 years, paying tax and National Insurance, yet find themselves stripped of any income as they approach retirement age despite being found by the Government to be unfit for work. Yet this is exactly what the outcome of this change will be. The UK Government stands accused of the biggest insurance scam in history – mis-selling National Insurance on a grand scale.”
The report, Breaking the Social Contract, adds to increasing criticisms of the reforms, claiming they will hit the most vulnerable. In relation to the proposal to ‘time limit’ claims, Breaking the Social Contract states, “between £83million and £278million will be lost to 67,969 current claimants in Scotland as they reach the end of their entitlement.” It goes on to point out the Tory-Lib Dem plan is to make the legislation retrospective, which could result in as many as 25,000 former workers across Scotland sharing an annual loss of more than £1.9million.
The report says the removal of long-term sickness provision was likely to lead to increased fear and uncertainty about future family income, forcing people to turn to private health-protection insurance, which they may find unaffordable or unobtainable because of their health.
Matt Kerr said, “The effects on many existing contributions-based benefit recipients will be devastating, with almost all seeing their income reduce or completely disappear.”
Richard Gass, chairman of Rights Advice Scotland, added, “A worker’s right to support when sick has been fundamental since the creation of the Welfare State in 1947. Removing that right is a hammer blow, which is far from a fair deal for taxpayers who have to give up work due to unfortunate circumstances that can affect anyone.”