Friday, 11 April 2014

Benefit changes 'disaster'

In the week that marks one year since the Tory-Lib Dem UK Government imposed far-reaching changes to social security benefits, local MSP Margaret Burgess has described them as “an absolute disaster for Scotland”.

Mrs Burgess said, “Since the introduction of the Bedroom Tax a year ago, an estimated 72,000 households in Scotland have lost around £50 a month as a result of UK policy.

“In April 2013, Child Benefit was frozen for the third year in a row, with rises of only one-percent planned for the following two years. By 2015/16, families with two children will have lost out by over £1,100.

“Households have been forced to pay the price of Westminster’s actions and the rise in reliance on foodbanks has been the shocking consequence.”

The SNP MSP for Cunninghame South, which includes Stevenston, pointed out that where the Scottish Government has power within the current devolved settlement, it has taken action. “We have moved to protect people in Scotland by filling the hole in Council Tax Benefit created by Westminster,” said Mrs Burgess, adding, “and we are doing what we can, with limited powers, to mitigate the damaging effects of the Bedroom Tax.”

Margaret Burgess said, “With the powers of an independent country, we will be able to make our own decisions and ensure that the welfare system in Scotland fully reflects the priorities of people living here. A ‘YES’ vote in September will give us the opportunity to do things differently – and we’ll no longer have to spend millions mopping up bad Westminster policy.”

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