The government's moral case for welfare reform is called "a sham"
- 05 Mar
Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess has said that the government's "moral case" for welfare reform is harming the living standards of people with vulnerabilities in Scotland.
Figures from the charity Trussell Trust show that over 50,000 people in Scotland have received assistance from their foodbanks in the last ten months alone. Mrs Burgess has highlighted her concerns to MSPs during a welfare reform debate in the Scottish Parliament.
Mrs Burgess has said that the current reforms are creating deep concern as they're already leaving people with vulnerabilities at risk of extreme poverty and exclusion, reports 24dash.
It is estimated by the Scottish government that the reduction in welfare expenditure in Scotland could reach as much as £4.5bn by 2015.
Margaret Burgess said: "The reforms are unfair and unjust and impact on some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Yet, even with all of that, the UK government talks about the ‘moral case' for welfare reform. It is a sham. What is evident is that more and more people are struggling to cope and being flung into a downward spiral of misery. Where is the morality in that? It is shameful that in the 21st century, there are people in Scotland who are in desperate straits because of the UK's relentless and unfair policies. Rather than help, the UK government's plans are punishing the most vulnerable in our society. In the meantime, the Scottish government is taking direct action and delivering real support to help people deal with the cuts and changes to welfare provision. That includes investing at least £258 million over the period from 2013-14 to 2015-16 to mitigate the worst impacts of these reforms. But these are resources that have been taken away from other areas, money that could have been used for other priorities. For example we could have used this money to invest more in health and education for our people - and in growing Scotland's economy. With independence, we can take decisions about welfare that will ensure fair and decent support for people in Scotland."
Ewan Gurr, Scotland Development Officer for the Trussell Trust said: "While The Trussell Trust celebrates the ways in which communities pull together in lean times to respond to emerging need, we do not celebrate the fact the need exists in the first place. Foodbanks are a grass-roots response to a systemic problem and are often a lifesaver to many individuals and families who feel they have nowhere else to turn. We applaud the consistent efforts of the Scottish government to mitigate the effects of food poverty and to raise the profile of this issue in an effort to identify creative solutions."
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