SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Dr Aileen McLeod today (Wednesday) highlighted a report by the Scottish Government which exposes the disproportionate impact of Westminster’s welfare reforms on women and families.
The report shows that many women will be worse off due to Westminster’s changes to the benefits system. Mothers in particular are more likely to lose out financially as they are often the main carers of children and because certain benefits are typically paid to women.
Previous analysis of reforms between 2010-11 and 2014-15 (excluding Universal Credit) carried out by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, found on average, single females are predicted to lose more than 4.5% of their net income compared to just under four per cent for males. For couples, many of the benefits typically paid to women have been frozen, cut or had entitlement restricted.
Dr McLeod commented:
“This report makes it clear that women and particularly mothers are likely to be disadvantaged by a catalogue of decisions on welfare. The calculations by organisations such as the Institute of Fiscal Studies make it clear that women, and lone parents in particular, stand to lose the most as the full impact of Welfare Reform takes hold.
“This report is extremely troubling. The UK Government’s benefits cuts are now shown to disproportionately affect women, particularly mothers and their children – one of the sections of our society that we should be protecting most.
“From tax credit changes to child benefit cuts and benefits disqualification, those who need support the most are being made to pay the price for Westminster’s economic incompetence. Dumfries & Galloway is already a low-income economy and these changes can only make that situation worse.
“It doesn’t have to be this way, and it shouldn’t be this way. Scotland has already made its opposition to these welfare cuts absolutely clear, and a majority of Scots believe that the Scottish Government would be best at deciding welfare policy for Scotland.
“An SNP Government in an independent Scotland would abolish these discriminatory cuts and ensure that women and families get the support they need.”
Notes to Editors: the full report on the gender impact of welfare reform can be found here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0043/00432337.pdf