DAMNING’ REPORT SHOWS WESTMINSTER WELFARE CUTS HITTING DISABLED PEOPLE

A ‘damning’ Citizens Advice Scotland report published today shows the devastating impact Westminster’s welfare cuts are having on disabled people in Scotland – and shows exactly why welfare policy should be decided in Scotland rather than in Westminster.

Evidence gathered by Citizens Advice Bureau advisers across Scotland shows that the introduction of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is beset by serious issues – leaving many claimants without money to pay for basics like food for months on end and leading to an increase in reliance on foodbanks.

The report finds that the average delay between a claim being lodged and the receipt of payment is six months – with some delays stretching to as long as 15 months, causing serious hardship for vulnerable people.

This report comes just a day after the UK Government refused to halt the roll-out of the Universal Credit in Scotland – highlighting again why decisions about welfare should be in Scotland’s hands, rather than Westminster’s.

Commenting, Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said:

“This new report is damning evidence of the devastating consequences Westminster’s welfare cuts are having on thousands of sick and disabled people in Scotland.

“These unfair welfare reforms are simply making life even more difficult for thousands of vulnerable people – leaving many without enough money to pay for basics like food and leaving even more people to rely on foodbanks. In a wealthy country like Scotland, this is nothing less than a scandal.

“This report also shows that Westminster’s reforms aren’t just unfair, they’re also spectacularly incompetent – with average delays of six months between claims being made and payment being received. That some claimants have had to wait well over a year for their claim to be processed is completely unacceptable.

“The Westminster establishment have shown time and time again that they can’t be trusted on welfare – their race to the right to court votes in the south east of England is punishing the very people who need support the most – and Tory conference this week has only reaffirmed their commitment to a shameless and sustained attack on the poor.

“Just yesterday Nicola Sturgeon called for Westminster to halt the rollout of Universal Credit in Scotland. It’s time that powers over welfare were transferred from Westminster to Scotland – allowing us to use the welfare state as a tool to fight poverty and inequality and support vulnerable people rather than punishing them.”