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“Millions risk being worse off” say Scottish welfare campaigners as reform bill published

17 Feb 2011

Leading members of the Scottish Campaign on Welfare Reform (SCoWR) today responded with concern to the UK Government’s welfare reform bill.

John Dickie, head of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, and a leading member of SCoWR said;

“It is right to want to simplify welfare and help people into work but lack of Treasury funding means this bill risks making millions of households in Scotland and across the UK even worse off as a result of higher benefit withdrawal rates and reduced childcare support.

Promises to protect potential losers through transitional arrangements will mean little when benefits and tax credits have already been so drastically cut. Coming on the back of rising inflation and with nothing to increase benefit levels that still leave people with only £65 a week to live on it is hard to see how it will deliver on the promise to combat poverty and make work pay.

It is time the government concentrated on addressing the low pay, lack of decent jobs, woefully inadequate benefit levels and childcare barriers that really trap people in poverty.”

Maggie Kelly of the Poverty Alliance added;

“The proposal to abolish DLA takes place against a backdrop of the UK Government’s intention to cut expenditure on disability benefits by over £1 billion. A cut of such magnitude would have a devastating impact, with hundreds of thousands of disabled people likely to lose entitlements, plunging many more below the poverty line and making the lives of those already struggling to make ends meet, increasingly difficult.

Yet despite the far reaching impact of these proposals, they have been announced without proper consultation. The UK Government consultation on DLA, due to close earlier in the week has extended to Friday 18th, leaving the Governments claims to be a listening Government exposed as a complete sham.”

Matt Lancashire of Citizens of Scotland, another lead member of SCoWR, said:

“To introduce the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) whilst the consultation is still ongoing is showing that government has not listened to many vulnerable Scottish people and the organisations who represent them”

“These reforms have the potential to affect over 340,000 vulnerable Scottish people who claim DLA. By not listening to these people and the organisations that represent them, the government is at risk of creating more poverty for people who suffer from a disability”

ENDS

For further comment contact:

John Dickie, Head of CPAG in Scotland, on 0141 552 3656 or 07795 340 618
Maggie Kelly, Policy Officer, Poverty Alliance on 0141 353 0440