Welfare cuts: the worst is yet to come?

Posted on 07/04/2014 by

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Reforms to the welfare system could see Scottish welfare spending reduced by around £6 billion over the six years to 2015-16, according to new analysis published today.

The reforms will see a reduction in support for families, children and those with disabilities.

The majority of the total reduction in welfare expenditure in Scotland, nearly 70 per cent, is expected to be in 2014-15 and 2015-16, with the largest reductions in expenditure brought about by changes to how benefits are uprated, tax credits and child benefit.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“We are committed to mitigating against the harmful effects of Westminster welfare reforms where we can – but the majority of the cuts are still to come.

“These changes to the budget will not only impact on the most vulnerable in our society, they will also set our progress on tackling poverty back by at least ten years.

“Child Poverty Action Group has suggested that, after housing costs have been taken into account, 100,000 more children in Scotland will be pushed into poverty by 2020 because of these reforms.

“And according to the Trussell Trust, the number of people using food banks is increasing with 56,000 people needing help between April 2013 and February 2014.

“We want to develop a society that not only provides fair support and decent opportunities for all but also protects the vulnerable in our society. The only way to guarantee that is to have possession of the powers to deliver it. Only then can we finally stop these reforms from harming people who need our help.”

Speaking yesterday, Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith defended changes to the welfare system, saying they would save the taxpayer £50 billion by the end of this Parliament.

Mr Duncan Smith said: “I think the work programme is now for the first time ever working with people, who were once on sickness benefits and who are now not, going back to work.”

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