Analysis of the latest ICM polling on welfare cuts by the Tory-led Westminster government shows the level of pronounced opposition in Scotland to their welfare cuts agenda.
The Scottish breakdown for the UK wide poll shows:
- Clear opposition in Scotland to Tory plans to stop paying housing benefit to all under 25 year olds
- Overwhelming opposition in Scotland to plans by the Tories to set benefit payments according to where recipients live with the Tory voting South East taking a completely opposite view.
- A majority in Scotland are against ending the full entitlement of pensioners to payments of winter fuel allowance, free bus passes, and TV licences.
SNP MP and Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford said independence was now the only way to ensure a fair welfare system that meets Scotland’s needs instead of the uncertainty of years of future Tory governments following a cuts agenda that sees inequality in the UK growing.
Dr Whiteford also said that it left Labour having to answer why they are in a pact with the Tories to keep decisions for Scotland’s welfare and pensioners being made by a Tory-run Westminster government which was rejected by people in Scotland instead of a Scottish Parliament 100% elected directly elected by people in Scotland?
Commenting Dr Whiteford said:
“This poll underscores a previous Scottish poll where a majority favoured welfare policy being run by the Scottish Parliament and government instead of from Westminster.
“And no wonder. Cutting benefits simply because of where you live, or how old you are risks forcing the most vulnerable in society into a perilous position.
“However a Labour’s UK leaders at Westminster cannot be trusted to reverse these plans since their shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne has already stated Labour’s support for regional welfare caps.
“As for Scottish Labour, instead of standing up for the vulnerable, they are standing together with the Tories. It’s for them to explain how we can be ‘better together’ under the Tories than making decisions for ourselves in Scotland. They have to answer why they are in a pact with the Tories to keep decisions for Scotland’s welfare and pensioners being made by a Tory-run Westminster government which was rejected by people in Scotland instead of a Scottish Parliament 100% elected directly elected by people in Scotland
“There is no doubt the welfare system needs reform but the deep and damaging cuts to benefits and services to fund their fiscal policy fundamentally undermine the system. The Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament are doing their best to mitigate the damage of Tory welfare reforms where it has the power to do so, but full powers are needed to build a better system.
“And analysis of the figures from GERS for social protection – which includes state pensions and welfare payments – show that the size of Scotland’s expenditure stands at 40% of Scottish revenues, less than the 42% for the UK. This compares to 42% for Scotland in 2009-10 and 43% for the UK as a whole.
“These latest welfare attacks show yet again the different stance Scotland would take if decisions on this issue could be made in Scotland. Independence is the only option that will allow Scotland to protect its progress in social welfare.”