The Scottish Parliament has passed legislation to fill the gap for 2013/14 caused by the UK Government cutting Council tax benefit by 10 per cent.
The UK Government’s actions would have added to the bills of 560,000 vulnerable people in Scotland, but the legislation passed today means that the Scottish Government will step in to meet that £40 million bill for the coming financial year.
Planned changes from the UK Government will see around £2.5 billion cut from benefit payments in Scotland, causing far more damage than the Scottish Government’s devolved budget could absorb.
Recently published poll figures make clear that 67% of people in Scotland believe that the Scottish Government should take control of welfare and benefits.
Commenting, SNP MSP Margaret Burgess, member of the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee, said:
“I am proud that the Scottish Government has stepped in to protect people in Scotland from the UK Government’s damaging blanket cut on council tax benefit.
“The coalition’s economic failures has left them scrambling to make more and more severe cuts instead of taking action to grow the economy.
“Hammering first disabled people and now the young is no way to secure an economic recovery. It is simply storing up more problems for the future and will cause incredible hardship to far too many people in Scotland.
“Given the UK Government’s determination to pursue unfair and indiscriminate cuts to vulnerable people’s benefits, it is hardly surprising that only 20% of people in Scotland think we are better being part of the UK when the Tories are in power.
“An independent Scotland would not have made these decisions to hammer vulnerable people in pursuit of Tory ideology. The actions of the Conservatives have shown why these are powers that must come to Scotland and that will only happen with a yes vote in the coming referendum.”