McLeod hails a budget to combat the worst effects of Westminster cuts

SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Dr Aileen McLeod has said that the Scottish Government’s budget shows determination to combat the worst effects of Westminster’s cuts but also highlights the further action that Scotland could take with the powers of an independent country.

The budget will see an additional £20 million invested in providing help for people affected by the Bedroom Tax. The move to do more to help mitigate the effects of the Bedroom Tax comes as a UN Special Rapporteur called for the policy to be abolished. The SNP are the only party that has committed to scrapping the Bedroom Tax in an independent Scotland.

In addition to this, the budget also saw the announcement of £190 million over two years to increase early learning and childcare to 600 hours – saving people £700 per family.

Meanwhile efforts to boost economic growth and create jobs are continuing, with a massive £8 billion programme of investment in infrastructure. The budget will also see the Scottish Government invest £68 million in welfare mitigation in each of the next two years and over £1.3 billion in affordable housing over the four year period to 2015/16.

Dr McLeod commented:

“This is a budget that shows determination to combat the worst effects of Westminster’s welfare cuts, but also highlights just how much more we could do with the powers of an independent Scotland.

“It continues the Scottish Government’s ambitious programme of infrastructure investment that is supporting economic growth and jobs in the face of Westminster’s cuts. It includes a heavy investment in early learning and childcare that will save hundreds of pounds for families in these difficult times.

“Perhaps most significantly of all, it sees a further £20 million invested in trying to help people who are being so horrendously affected by Westminster’s Bedroom Tax.

“Of course as welcome as additional funds to try and protect people from the impact of the Bedroom Tax are, the inescapable truth is that this is a policy that simply should not exist – as witnessed by the swift condemnation by the UN’s Special Rapporteur.

“It is utterly wrong that the Westminster Government is able to impose this damaging and unpopular policy despite a majority of Scottish MPs voting against it.

“We need the powers of an independent Scotland to do away with the Bedroom Tax all together instead of being forced to simply manage and mitigate Westminster’s mistakes – something that only a Yes vote in next year’s referendum will secure.”

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