Maureen’s Matters - ‘We are now witnessing an abandonment’

Since the establishment of the Coalition government in 2010 I have been unremittingly critical of the harsh and unjust welfare cuts imposed by Westminster.

In the four years which have now passed over 40 welfare reforms have been introduced which have drastically reduced the income of the poorest in our society; for example the Bedroom Tax and the freeze on child benefits.

We have already seen the income of the least well off being squeezed, while tax cuts have been handed out to the rich.

However, we are now witnessing a complete abandonment of the most vulnerable in our society.

New data from the Scottish Government has found that 100,000 people in Scotland will see a sharp reduction in their disability benefit as a result of further Westminster cuts.

Specifically, the replacement of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with Personal Independence payments (PIP) could mean that over 100,000 people will lose at least £1120 per year.

To make matters worse it is estimated that 50,000 of Scotland’s disabled who currently receive the enhanced mobility allowance will lose up to £3000 annually.

Westminster’s dismantling of the welfare state has not only taken money out of the pockets of the most vulnerable but I believe it has also taken away their dignity.

The Scottish Government has worked hard to mitigate the effects of these destructive policies with the limited powers at our disposal.

Despite finally being allowed by the Westminster government to raise the cap of the discretionary housing benefit, no further funding was allocated to do this, meaning we had to find room in our limited budget to fill the gap caused by their tax.

The role of government should not to be to mitigate the effects of a toxic policy implemented by another.

I believe that the best way to ensure we can finally protect our most vulnerable is to have a Scottish welfare state which is just, and which enshrines principles of fairness and dignity.

The only way to ensure this is to vote YES on September 18.