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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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SNP WARN OVER TORY CUT TO CRISIS LOANS

Thursday, 3 March 2011

RULE CHANGE WILL PUNISH POOREST

SNP Work and Pension spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford MP has expressed concern at an announcement by the UK Government, that it is to cut 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.

In a Written Statement published today (Thursday), the UK Government announced that it 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 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:

“By their nature crisis loans are a last resort, and it is appalling that the Tory Government are cutting this safety net for the very poorest people in our society. 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 don’t really save money. This is a cruel cut that will force people who are in crisis to take out high interest loans or to go to loan sharks.”

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