Ahead of the Estimates Day debate, the SNP has urged the UK Work and Pensions Secretary to “wake up to reality” and ensure putting cash in people’s pockets is her priority, to support people through the Tory-made cost of living crisis.
After a decade of austerity, slow wage growth and a range of brutal welfare cuts under the UK Tory government, poverty levels have increased, with the UK having the worst poverty and inequality levels in North West Europe.
The SNP’s Work and Pensions spokesperson, Kirsty Blackman MP, has said that it is clear that the only way Scotland will become the fairer country we are striving to be is with independence – after the UK government spent twelve years systematically dismantling the UK social security net.
Commenting, Kirsty Blackman MP said:
“I am urging Therese Coffey to wake up to reality and use Estimates Day to ensure putting cash in people’s pockets to help them through the cost of living crisis, which has been made worse by her own government, is the priority.
“People need money now, not months down the line.
“That means uplifting Universal Credit by £25 and extending this to legacy benefits, scrapping the five week wait and advance loans in the Universal Credit system in favour of non-repayable grants, and uprating some benefits as we have done in Scotland.
“However, given the raft of failures, brutal cuts and missed opportunities we have seen under the Westminster government over the last twelve years, I don’t hold out much hope.
“While the Tories have spent over a decade taking apart the UK welfare system – which for many people is their only safety net when faced with unexpected circumstances – the Scottish Government has been building a social security system based on fairness, dignity and respect.
“It is with those key principles in mind that the SNP Scottish Government brought in the Scottish Child Payment, another seven brand new benefits, uprated benefits, and made the decision to spend £83 million to mitigate the Tory’s damaging bedroom tax and benefit cap.
“It has done all of this using its limited powers – imagine how much further we could go if we had full fiscal powers, including the ability to borrow, as well as full welfare and employment powers?
“Right now, 85% of social security spending is reserved to Westminster.
“It is clear that the only way Scotland can become a fairer, more equal country – without Westminster dragging us backwards and hindering our progress – is to become an independent country.”