Citizens Advice Scotland’s Chief Executive has written to the Chancellor, George Osborne, urging him to halt the welfare reforms that are hurting vulnerable people and damaging the Scottish economy.
Margaret Lynch’s letter, sent in advance of the budget, cites independent economic evidence to say that the government’s welfare reforms are not only hurting poor and vulnerable people but are taking £2.7bn out of the Scottish economy.
Margaret Lynch says,
“I’ve sent this letter because I felt it was necessary to make the Chancellor aware of the devastating impact his welfare cuts are having, not just on the poor and vulnerable people who are most directly hit, but also on the wider Scottish economy as a whole.
“For the last few years the Scottish CAB service has seen first-hand the impact that these welfare reforms are having on individuals and their families. The cuts have hit those who are most in need, including some of the most sick and disabled people in our communities, young people, pensioners, unemployed people, families with young children, and carers. Every CAB in Scotland sees these people every day, and we see the terrible impact these policies are having on them.
“But what we also know is that these cuts actually damage the whole of the Scottish economy too. If people have less money in their pockets, then they spend less in the shops. And that means fewer jobs, more debt, and a stagnant economy. Independent economists say the welfare reforms are taking a total of £2.7bn out of the Scottish economy – with disabled people and their families bearing the brunt of that.
“So in this letter my message to the Chancellor is that his government’s welfare reforms represent a ‘lose-lose’ policy for Scotland. They are hurting the most vulnerable people, and forcing many of them into poverty. But if that wasn’t bad enough, they are also damaging our economy as a whole.”
For further information, or to arrange interviews, please contact Tony Hutson on 07774 751655.
Notes to editors - click to expand/collapse
Margaret Lynch’s full letter to the Chancellor is attached. It includes notes and references supporting the economic claims she makes. Some of the key passages state:
“The cuts you have already made, alongside many policy and legislative changes introduced, are having and will continue to have a damaging impact on the people of Scotland, both those in direct receipt of benefits and those in the wider economy where those benefits are being spent….
“The result of all these changes and the loss in personal income will have a direct impact on local economies and the people who live in them. As benefit payments, and therefore spending power, is reduced, the money being spent within local economies across Scotland will decrease also; with what could be very damaging consequences to those whose jobs rely on wider spending power within those communities they are based in.
“Benefit cuts reduce the incomes of low income families, causing fiscal hindrance; there is a decrease in consumer spending, causing cuts in businesses in the form of job losses and closures which perpetuates the problem. This all results in reduced taxes, NI payments, lower VAT revenues, and increased personal debt,… decreasing money in the wider economy and increasing those in need of benefits…
“Therefore, for the protection of individuals and families reliant on benefits, and for the benefit of both local economies as well as the national economy, I urge you not to cut benefits any further and to reconsider the current policies that will see thousands of people lose benefit payments they rely on to live and which go back into the economy to increase jobs and spending elsewhere.”