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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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TORY CRISIS LOAN CUTS HIT 350,000 VULNERABLE SCOTS

Sunday, 20 March 2011

SNP CONDEMN TORIES' CRUEL CRISIS CUTS

SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford MP has hit out at the Tories’ ‘cruel cuts’ after Parliamentary Questions revealed how UK Government cuts to the level and availability of Social Fund Crisis Loans would impact on hundreds of thousands of disabled, pensioner and loan parent households.

The Parliamentary Questions – detailed below – also revealed that 347,270 people in Scotland took out the crisis loan over the last year. The UK Government announced that it will no longer pay Crisis Loans for items such as cookers and beds and the rate paid for living expenses will be cut from 75 per cent down to 60 per cent of benefit rate.

Commenting Dr Whiteford said:

“Cutting crisis loans must be the Tories cruellest cut yet. It will impact on the most vulnerable households, removing safety net support from people just when they need a helping hand.

“The UK Government admit that, over the last year alone, these loans have gone to hundreds of thousands of disabled, pensioner and loan parent households. By their nature crisis loans are a last resort, and so cutting their availability will cause real hardship and drive people towards 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 Tory Government are making things much more painful.

“These are loans that people pay back, so these cuts are not about saving money.

"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.”


Notes:

1. Details of awards by client groups:

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many social fund crisis loans were made to (a) individuals registered as disabled, (b) individuals over the pension age and (c) lone parent households in the last 12 months. [45527]

Steve Webb: The available information is provided as follows:

Client group -- Number of initial awards March 2010 to February 2011 in Great Britain

Disabled -- 443,410
Lone parents -- 287,580
Others -- 233,990
Pensioners -- 17,320
Unemployed -- 1,706,450

All initial awards -- 2,688,750

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110316/text/110316w0003.htm#1103171003075

2. Details of the number of people to receive crisis loans, by region, can be found here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110316/text/110316w0003.htm#1103171003069

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