Bring Scottish Office Ministers, Michael Moore and David Mundell, to Falkirk to face the families who will be hit hardest by the UK Government’s Welfare Reforms was the message from SNP group leader, Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn.
The SNP chief was speaking to a report from Falkirk Council that highlights the real impact of the changes to the benefits system that UK Ministers believe will cut the welfare bill by 20%.
However, the SNP believe that the changes will push people already below the poverty threshold into an even worse position placing a greater strain on agencies such as Social Services, the NHS and local charities.
Said Cllr Meiklejohn
“Westminster politicians live in a bubble and are totally detached from the real world.
That is why we within the SNP Group believe that those responsible for the misery being caused by the so called reforms should be brought face to face with the victims of these cruel and heartless cuts.
This is particularly relevant as on the day the Bedroom Tax comes into place on the poorest within our community the richest will receive tax cuts with the 5% reduction in the Higher Rate Tax Band.
These are not the actions of a government with any notion of fairness or compassion and those responsible must be made aware of the consequences of their policies.”
Councillor Meiklejohn also criticised Falkirk Council’s Labour Group for being behind the times in their amendment calling for support for a request made by the housing charity, Shelter for an additional £50m of government grants for more social housing. The SNP point to an announcement made on 21 January by the SNP Government to spend an additional £200m over and above what has already been announced.
Cllr Meiklejohn said,
“Dennis Goldie has scored an amazing own goal by his failure to bring up to date information to the chamber.
In fact he is actually advocating a cut in the allocation for social housing which is a bizarre position for Labour to adopt and an abject lesson on doing your homework before making statements in the council chambers.
It should also viewed for what the purpose of the Labour amendment actually is, namely an attempt to deflect the blame for the Welfare cuts from Westminster.
The shape of society under a Westminster government is being laid bare with reforms such as tax cuts for the rich with benefit cuts for the poor placing Labour and their Tory allies in a blind panic over their support for continued rule from Westminster. ”