The UK Government are looking to cut up to £35 billion from the Welfare Budget that will see changes such as the introduction of a bedroom tax, disabled people being forced off benefit and the introduction of draconian cuts in support for low income families.
In a report to the full council meeting held on Wednesday the SNP sought to secure the support of the Labour part of the Administration to a position of outright opposition to the Welfare Reforms with the following amendment.
“council condemns the current actions of the UK Government’s policy on welfare reform believing this is a cynical exercise in cuts to the welfare budget which will put vulnerable, elderly and disabled people further into poverty.”
Bizarrely the Labour members of Falkirk Council voted against the SNP motion and instead proposed to write to the UK government supporting the proposals, but asking for a delay in implementing the cuts.
Speaking after the meeting a furious SNP leader, Cecil Meiklejohn said,
“The morphing of Labour into a right wing twin of the Tory Party is now complete.
The UK Government’s attacks on the most vulnerable within our community are as severe as they could be.
Make no mistake about it, these cuts are designed to hurt the low paid, disabled people, the elderly and the groups Labour used to represent.
Given the choice of supporting the victims of the Tory cuts or the Cameron / Osborne Conservative Party they chose to support the Tory Government.
What this proves, apart from Labour selling their soul, is that the two Tories are effectively dictating policy within Falkirk Council which is an affront to democracy given they secured less than 10% of the vote in May
Labour members should hang their heads in shame, but they have proved in the past they are shameless.”
Councillor Meiklejohn went on to say,
“what is also clear is that the only way we will see humane policies on welfare issues is for the Scottish Parliament to be given full responsibility for this area of life.
That means those who want social justice for the most vulnerable within the communities we represent have no alternative but to vote Yes in the independence referendum.”
The SNP leader has written to under siege Labour leader, Craig Martin, informing him that the SNP want nothing to do with any letter of support for the Tory cuts and demanded the Labour leader restrict his declaration to the Labour and Conservative Groups.
The vote was 16 – 15 against the SNP with Independent Councillors Robert Spears and Brian McCabe supported the SNP amendment with Labour’s 14 supported by the 2 Tories backing the reforms.