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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Shambolic Mismanagement of Welfare Changes Shows Need for YES Vote

Monday, 30 June 2014

As Westminster debates the performance of the Department of Work and Pensions, the SNP has made clear that Westminster’s continued failure on welfare shows why Scotland needs to be able to make our own decisions.

With the rollout of Universal Credit years behind schedule and substantially over budget, it is still unclear if and when full implementation of the policy will occur. Problems introducing a computer system to manage the policy saw £40 million spent on software completely written off and a further £90 million spent on IT that will only be of use for five years.

Earlier this year Iain Duncan Smith was forced to personally intervene to stop Universal Credit being placed on a register of major public risks with a ‘red rating’ which would show the policy was unachievable within reasonable timescales and to a reasonable budget.

Meanwhile the introduction of Personal Independence Payments was described as a “fiasco” in recent days by the influential Public Accounts Committee at Westminster.

Scotland’s Future set out a promise to abolish the Bedroom Tax and halt the further rollout of Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payments in an independent Scotland as part of the process of creating a fairer welfare system.

Commenting, SNP Work and Pensions Spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“The DWP has serious questions to answer over its poor performance in recent years and the way in which it has completely mismanaged the implementation of Universal Credit.

“But those failings do not disguise the fact that they are trying to implement a poorly designed, punitive policy which has been shown to be unworkable.

“The whole package of these welfare cuts has been a disaster from start to finish and has served only to waste money and punish the least well off in society.

“From the introduction of the Bedroom Tax to the delayed rollout of Universal Credit, we have seen nothing but failure with all too many people paying a heavy price for Westminster’s cuts agenda. As a result of these cuts, 100,000 more children in Scotland face poverty and food bank use has rocketed by 400 per cent in the last year.

“This sorry fiasco has once again underlined why Westminster cannot be trusted to get it right when it comes to making decisions over welfare. We need the opportunity to make our own decisions in Scotland that only a Yes vote will provide.

“Scotland is a wealthy country, more prosperous per head than the UK, France and Japan. With a Yes vote in September can use our wealth to make our own choices on tax and welfare and build a system that better reflects the values of people in Scotland.”

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