South of Scotland MSPs Joan McAlpine and Aileen McLeod have claimed that the case for Welfare being devolved to Scotland is ‘unanswerable’, after a new report laid bare the scale of cuts being inflicted on Scotland.
The research by Sheffield Hallam University, found that the welfare cuts will cost Scotland £1.66bn a year; £44 million across Dumfries and Galloway alone. In real terms this means that people of working age cross the region are set to lose a staggering £480 per head.
Significantly, Councils covering the poorest areas are being hit hardest, further entrenching Britain’s deep income inequalities.
The report warns of the damage these cuts will have on fragile local economies, concluding that “the loss of benefit income, which is often large, will have knock-on consequences for local spending and thus for local employment, which will in turn add a further twist to the downward spiral."
Recent Scottish Government analysis found the cumulative impact of all the cuts in the UK Budget, autumn statement and spending review would be £4.5bn by 2015 – and could result in the loss of up to 17,000 jobs.
Reacting to the report, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said:
“These new figures have once again laid bare the scale of the human and economic damage of Westminster’s brutal welfare cuts.
“With people across the region set to lose £480 per head, the UK’s position as the fourth most unequal society in the developed world can only get worse. This is a disgraceful position for resource rich Scotland to find itself in.
“It seems that the SNP Government do not need to make the case for welfare policy to be decided in Scotland; with these new figures the case is making itself.”
Dr Aileen McLeod commented:
“The Sheffield Hallam report is a stark critique of the Westminster Coalition’s welfare policy, which is set to hit people on in-work benefits as well as people who are unemployed and the disabled.
“Now however, we start to see the knock-on effects for the whole economy and the levels of spending capacity that are about to be taken out of the system. With the Tories and Lib-Dems introducing the Bedroom Tax and Labour refusing to commit to scrapping it, it’s no wonder people want Scotland’s Parliament to make the decisions over welfare and pensions.”
The report can be found Here
The Scottish Government’s welfare reform analysis can be found here