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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Banff & Buchan Hit by Westminster Welfare Cuts

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

SNP CAMPAIGN AGAINST WELFARE REFORM

Banff & Buchan MP and SNP Spokesperson for Work and Pensions Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP has slammed Westminster’s welfare changes for failing to protect the most disadvantaged people in the constituency, and have urged constituents unfairly affected to contact their parliamentary office so the SNP can continue to campaign against the UK Government’s Welfare Reform.

The National Housing Federation has estimated 2,250 households in Aberdeenshire will be hit by the ‘bedroom tax’, in addition to many who will be affected by a cap in benefits, despite rising living costs.

The changes to the welfare system across Scotland will see:
  • The ‘Bedroom Tax’ come into force, with 105,000 households across Scotland losing an average £600 a year.
  • Working age benefits rises will be capped to one per cent for the next three years reducing the total income of Scottish households by around £210 million by 2014-15.
  • Child benefit will be frozen for the third year in a row, seeing, cumulatively, between 2011-12 and 2015-16, a family with two children receiving over £1,100 less than they would had Child Benefit been uprated by RPI inflation.
  • Scotland’s council tax budget will be cut by 10% but Scottish households have been protected by the Scottish Government and COSLA plugging the £40 million funding gap.
  • The social fund will be abolished but the £33million Scottish Welfare Fund will be set up to benefit an extra 100,000 vulnerable Scots.
Dr Eilidh Whiteford said:

“The Welfare Reform wrongly results in the poorest and most disadvantaged in our society facing the brunt of the Tory/Lib Dem austerity agenda.

“The ‘bedroom tax’ policy is inherently unfair. People on the lowest incomes are paying the price for structural problems affecting the supply of affordable housing. The bedroom tax is also unworkable - instead of addressing the underlying problems, it undermines the ability of social landlords to invest in the kind of affordable housing that is so badly needed.

“This policy will be imposed on Scotland, despite the fact over 90 per cent of Scottish MPs voted against it.

“A fairer welfare system for Scotland can only be achieved with independence and control over all welfare policies so that we can devise policies for the benefit of the people of Scotland.

“New figures show the ‘bedroom tax’ could cost Scots council and housing association tenants £53m a year, and according to a new report by MPs, lead to more people being in arrears and a rise in homelessness.

“A recent YouGov poll found that 52% of respondents thought that the Scottish Government should be responsible for all tax and spending decisions in Scotland – including oil and gas tax revenue, with 35% supporting Westminster control.

"Next year we will have the opportunity to change. Scotland needs a Yes vote on 18th September 2014 to enable us to invest our abundant resources in building the fairer and more prosperous Scotland that we all want to see."


The National Federation of Housing has reached figures on the number of households hit by the Bedroom Tax by looking at information on housing stock, cut by DWP figures on regional numbers of households expected to be effected.

Westminster Parliamentary Report on the ‘bedroom tax’ can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/news/housing-benefit-report/

YouGov (Fieldwork: 20th-22nd March 2013)
Sample size: 1105 Scottish adults

Which government do you think should be responsible for all tax and spending decisions in Scotland, including tax revenues from oil and gas?

The UK government 35
The Scottish government 52
Don't know 13

Which government do you think would be best at deciding welfare and pensions policy for Scotland?

The UK government 34
The Scottish government 53
Don't know 13

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