The SNP has sent a message of solidarity to hundreds of disabled people rallying in Edinburgh against the UK government welfare reforms as the party unanimously endorsed a resolution condemning the cuts and calling for powers over welfare to be devolved to Holyrood.
While delegates debated the reforms at its conference in Inverness SNP MSP Margaret Burgess represented the party at the ‘Hardest Hit’ demonstration in Edinburgh.
Commenting, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said:
“From removal of the mobility component for people living in residential care to cuts in the availability and level of crisis loans, it is the most vulnerable in our communities that are paying the price of the Tories reforms.
“The welfare system should maximise the potential for all people to work and live free from poverty, however, this cannot be achieved through cuts in support for vulnerable people.
“This issue shows yet again the different stance Scotland would take if we had the power to legislate on this issue and it is our clear view that it is the Scottish Parliament, not the UK Parliament, that should decide on welfare policy for Scotland – as would be the case if Scotland was independent.”
Annabelle Ewing, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, added:
“The sweeping welfare reforms which are being driven through by the Tory and LibDem Coalition are having a severe impact on people and communities across Scotland.
“Reform of the benefits system is necessary but the Tory/LibDem Coalition Government’s plan looks increasingly like an assault on the ill and disabled, with Tory and LibDem Ministers competing with each other over who can cut the most from the benefits budget.
“We must not have cuts for the sake of cuts. Not only would that risk forcing the truly vulnerable in society into a perilous position, it also takes vital capital out of the economy without consideration of the impact.
“While reform is necessary, it must be done carefully and decisions on entitlements based on medical need – not government spin.”