Campaign against welfare reform

Western Isles MP, Angus MacNeil 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 his parliamentary office so the SNP can continue to campaign against the UK Government’s Welfare Reform.

The National Housing Federation has estimated 330 households in Na h-Eileanan an Iar 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.

Angus MacNeil MP 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.

“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.

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

“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.”