Ms McAlpine commented:
“This is an extraordinary step for Labour to take – and it confirms that the only way to safeguard the welfare state in Scotland is by voting Yes next September. Already, a majority of people in Scotland believe that welfare and pensions policy should be decided by Holyrood not Westminster – and developments like this show why having control in Scotland is essential.
“Scotland has paid more tax per head than the UK average in every one of the last 30 years – and the official figures show that Scotland subsidises the rest of the UK, not the other way round – yet Labour are now talking about having lower welfare payments in Scotland than the south of England. Johann Lamont and the Labour MPs at Westminster she is nominally in charge of have a great deal of explaining to do.”
Dr McLeod added:
“Ed Balls has now made it clear that if Labour was ever re-elected at Westminster they would adopt the Tory mantra of cuts, cuts and more cuts. His language could not be clearer and his attack on the principle of universality of by cutting winter fuel payments shows us that a Westminster government of whatever hue really does mean sticking with Tory cuts.
“The only way to escape this Westminster austerity is with a Yes vote in 2014. That way Scotland will always get the Government that the Scottish people actually vote for, rather than what we have at the moment, which the majority didn’t support.”
YouGov/SNP poll (Fieldwork: 20th-22nd March 2013)
Sample size: 1105 Scottish adults
Which government do you think would be best at deciding welfare and pensions policy for Scotland?
The UK government – 34
The Scottish government – 53
Don’t know – 13