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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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More Scottish Children In Poverty This Christmas Due To Con-Dem Cuts

Saturday, 27 December 2014

TOO MUCH OF WELFARE POLICY WILL REMAIN IN THE GRIP OF WESTMINSTER

The Scottish National Party has said too many children are suffering this Christmas at the hands of UK Government welfare cuts and delays to benefit payments.

Shelter has estimated that 4,000 children in Scotland will be homeless this Christmas. The Child Poverty Action Group has forecast that by 2020 up to 100,000 more children will live in poverty in Scotland, largely as a result of ongoing tax and welfare changes.

Over 60 charities and civil society organisations focussing on poverty and welfare rights in Scotland had called for the full devolution of welfare policy to Scotland in their submissions to the Smith Commission.

The Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations, Barnardos, Citizens Advice Scotland, Shelter and a range of other groups had argued for the Scottish Parliament to have responsibility over the majority of welfare policy yet £15 billion of welfare spend will remain reserved to Westminster with only £2.5 billion transferred to the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament.

Commenting, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“Too many children in Scotland will be living in poverty this Christmas and too many working families will be struggling to put food on the table and heat their home.

“Poverty in Scotland is being perpetuated by UK Government policies and the powers we need to tackle this problem – such as working tax credits and child benefit – will remain in the grip of Westminster.

“The promised new powers for Scotland on welfare are welcome, but the reality is that the public and those who work on the frontline with the vulnerable and with struggling working families expected the UK Government to deliver so much more.

“Charities and civic society groups made it clear in their submissions that only by devolving welfare wholesale could we make a transformational impact on poverty in Scotland. However, even if the welfare powers recommended by the Smith Commission are delivered, 85% of welfare will remain in the grip of Westminster.”

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