Poverty in Scotland 'will worsen' as more UK cuts are announced

By staff writers
October 6, 2014

Charities and poverty experts have spoken out about the deeply damaging effect of UK government welfare policies on Scotland’s poorest families.

The intervention follows Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement at the Conservative Party conference that a further £3 billion is to be cut from the welfare bill, with benefits frozen for two years.

The Labour Party has already pledged to accept coalition spending plans, including up to £30 billion cuts hitting the most vulnerable. The Liberal Democrats, at their conference in Glasgow, are now criticising these policies, but have voted for them in government with the Conservatives.

The cuts are expected to hit one million families in Scotland as well as millions elsewhere in Britain. When Mr Osborne made this announcement it was met with cheers from Tory delegates.

A wide range of organisations including Shelter Scotland, Citizens Advice Scotland, Shelter Scotland, the Child Poverty Action Group, SCVO, the Poverty Alliance, Positive Action in Housing, Barnardo’s in Scotland, the Poverty Truth Commission, the Big Issue and the Trussell Trust, have spoken out and raised their concerns about poverty in Scotland worsening.

Commenting on the situation, the Scottish National Party’s Welfare and Pensions Spokesperson, Dr Eilidh Whiteford, said: “The warnings of these respected experts on poverty and welfare issues must be heeded before increasingly damaging Tory policies drive more into poverty. 100,000 more children in Scotland already face being pushed into poverty as a result of the Tories’ sustained attack on hard working and vulnerable families. Reports that George Osborne’s benefits freeze will hit one million families in Scotland are deeply worrying.

“As their intervention shows this is no longer just a debate between politicians – now those people and organisations who work daily to help tackle poverty and deprivation are giving a stark warning which both Westminster and the wider Scottish society must heed.

“Westminster has proven time and time again it cannot be trusted when it comes to welfare. It is time for the Scottish Parliament to have the powers we need to make Scotland a fairer, more equal country and address the causes of inequality", she concluded.

Scottish Greens have also attacked the Westminster parties over poverty and inequality. Britain is now the fourth most unequal country in the developed world and is heading to being the third or even second most unequal country in the next decade as tax cuts benefit the rich and social security and public spending cuts hit the poor – while the main debt problem remains financial and private debt.

* Scottish charities speak out on policies that drive poverty: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/20911

[Ekk/3]

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.