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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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SCOTLAND OFFICE COMPLACENT AND UNCARING OVER CRISIS LOAN CUTS

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

TORIES BACK TO BEING THE NASTY PARTY

SNP Work and Pension spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford MP has branded the Scotland Office as ‘complacent and uncaring’ over cuts to the level and availability of Social Fund Crisis Loans, warning that the decision would force people on low incomes towards high cost or illegal lending.

Dr Whiteford raised concerns at Scottish Question today (Wednesday) over the announcement that the Tory Government will no longer pay Crisis Loans for items such as cookers and beds; the rate paid for living expenses will be cut from 75 per cent down to 60 per cent of benefit rate; and the UK government will implement a cap of three Crisis Loan awards for general living expenses in a rolling twelve month period. In the last 12 months alone, over 17,000 people received ten or more Crisis Loans.

Commenting, Dr Whiteford said:

“It seems that the Tories have gone back to being the nasty party with this complacent and uncaring dismissal of the impact that cutting crisis loans will have on the poorest households.

“By their nature crisis loans are a last resort, and it is appalling that the Tory Government are cutting this safety net. The only winners from this will be loan sharks and high interest lenders.

“The fact that so many people have had to take out these loans should underline the difficulties that households are facing, but instead of trying to help the UK Government are making things much more painful.

“These are loans that people pay back, so these cuts are not about saving money. What they will do is force people who are in crisis to take out high interest loans or to go to loan sharks.

"With further powers over the economy and over the welfare system that supports our most vulnerable people we could put a stop to the Tories dismal decade of cuts, invest in growing our economy and support our most vulnerable properly so that together we can make Scotland better.”

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