SNP work and pensions spokesperson hits out at 'heartless' UK coalition

By agency reporter
2 Feb 2012

SNP Work and Pensions spokeswoman Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP has hit out the ‘compassionless UK coalition’ after MP’s overturned House of Lords amendments to their Welfare Reform Bill on 1 February 2012.

Dr Whiteford said there was increasing evidence that the welfare system should be devolved and highlighted evidence from the Scottish Local Government Forum Against Poverty and Rights Advice Scotland who have warned that UK welfare reforms will remove a safety net for hardworking taxpayers and their families.

Dr Whiteford declared: “The UK Government has exposed itself as an out-of-touch and compassionless coalition. It is increasingly clear that the only way we will get a welfare policy that suits Scotland’s needs is by having the powers to set that policy in Scotland."

She continued: “From time limiting contributory Employment and Support Allowance to cuts in the availability and level of crisis loans, it is the most disadvantaged in our communities that are paying the price of the Tories reforms."

“Reform of the benefits system is necessary but the Tory/LibDem Coalition Government’s plan looks increasingly like an assault on the most disadvantaged. We must not have cuts for the sake of cuts. Not only would that risk forcing the most vulnerable in society into a perilous position, it also takes vital capital out of the economy without consideration of the impact," said Dr Whiteford.

“While reform is necessary, it must be done carefully and decisions on entitlements based on medical need – not government spin," she said.

“The welfare system should maximise the potential for all people to work and live free from poverty, however, this cannot be achieved through cuts in support for disadvantaged people," Dr Whiteford added.

“This issue shows yet again the different stance Scotland would take if we had the power to legislate on this issue and it is our clear view that it is the Scottish Parliament, not the UK Parliament, that should decide on welfare policy for Scotland – as would be the case if Scotland was independent,” the Scottish National Party Work and Pensions spokeswoman at Westminster concluded.

[Ekk/3]

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