I’ve joined with Stuart McMillan MSP to highlight a Scottish Government report that shows Inverclyde will be disproportionately affected by damaging UK Government welfare cuts.
The statutory report, which was submitted to the Scottish Parliament, estimates the impact of all welfare measures passed by the UK Government between 2010 and 2017 drawing upon independent analysis by the Office for Budget Responsibility.
Based on the latest forecasts, it is expected that the UK Government annual social security spend in Scotland will reduce by £3.9 billion by 2020/21. In addition, hundreds of thousands of people have lost or will lose some of their benefit payments.
Local authority level analysis suggests that Inverclyde will see one the most significant falls in welfare spending by 2020/21 relative to their working-age population size, with a £15m cut overall – the equivalent of £298 per working age adult.
Over the past year, my constituency office has seen a 52% increase in the number of welfare and benefits cases. Changes to Personal Independence Payment in particular have been extremely damaging and many disabled people will have a lower quality of life as a result.
I have been approached by constituents with severe disabilities or mental ill health and told how they were deemed as being fit-for-work by private companies acting as assessors on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions.
This lack of compassion and dwindling financial support from the UK Government is entrenching poverty in Inverclyde at a time when many residents are in desperate need of assistance.
My colleague Stuart McMillan MSP said:
“These cuts are damaging our people and they are harmful to our communities. Every pound taken away from those entitled to financial support not only affects those individuals and their families, it is also a pound less that is spent locally in Inverclyde.
“Shockingly, with many of the harshest cuts still to come, the reforms will reduce spending on welfare in Scotland by nearly £4 billion a year by the end of this decade. This is in addition to the 9.2% (or £2.9 billion) real terms cuts between 2010-11 and 2019-20 that the Scottish Government will see in the day-to-day budget that pays for public services.
“That will obviously have an impact on the amount of money the Scottish Government has available within its budget to spend. The Scottish Government have used over £350 million since 2013/14 to mitigate against the worst damage, however it is simply not possible to for us to mitigate all of the UK Government’s welfare cuts without major reductions in our expenditure in other vital public services, in growing our economy and in providing real opportunity to our young people.”
A copy of the report can be found [here]