Friday, 14 March 2014

Minister slams UK welfare reforms

Margaret Burgess MSP says UK Government welfare reforms are “harming the living standards of poor and vulnerable people in North Ayrshire”.

Mrs Burgess spoke to the3towns after addressing the Scottish Parliament in her capacity as the Minister for Welfare in the SNP Scottish Government. The local MSP said, “UK reforms are creating deep concern and anxiety and are leaving already vulnerable people at risk of extreme poverty and exclusion.

“The Trussell Trust, which supports North Ayrshire foodbanks, has confirmed that over 50,000 people in Scotland received assistance from them in the last ten months.”

The MSP for Cunninghame South, which includes Stevenston, said Tory-Lib Dem welfare reforms are “unjust”, adding, “The UK Government talks about the ‘moral case’ for welfare reform but that is a sham. What is evident is that more and more people in my constituency and across Scotland are struggling to cope and are being flung into a downward spiral of misery. Where is the morality in that?”

Mrs Burgess, formerly a manager with Citizens Advice Scotland, said, “It is shameful that in the 21st century we have people who are in desperate straits because of the UK’s relentless and unfair policies. Rather than helping them, the UK Government’s plans are punishing the most vulnerable in our society.

“It is estimated that the reduction in welfare expenditure in Scotland could reach as much as £4.5-billion by 2015.

“In the meantime, the Scottish Government is taking direct action and delivering real support to help people deal with the cuts and changes to welfare provision. That includes investing at least £258-million over the period from 2013-14 to 2015-16 to mitigate the worst impact of these reforms.”

However, Mrs Burgess pointed-out that Westminster is also cutting the Scottish Government’s budget, which meant money used by the SNP to mitigate the effects of UK welfare reforms results in less being available for other priorities. Mrs Burgess explained, “For example, we could have used this money to invest more in health and education – and in growing Scotland’s economy.

“With a ‘YES’ vote and independence, we can take decisions about welfare that will ensure fair and decent support for people in Scotland.”

No comments:

Post a Comment