The Parliament backed the SNP plans to supply additional funds to help combat the Bedroom Tax – which was imposed on Scotland by the Tory Westminster government – but Scotland still lacks the powers to fully scrap the tax, which was even ruled a breach of human rights by the United Nations.
Alongside targeting Westminster welfare cuts the budget will continue the small business bonus, protect free education, entitle primary one to three pupils to free school meals, saving at least £330 per eligible child; extend childcare provision to 600 hours for three and four year olds and for vulnerable two year olds, saving around £700 a year; and continue the Council Tax freeze that will have saved households £1,200 on average by the end of this parliament.
Dr McLeod commented:
“The SNP’s budget will directly tackle some of the most unfair, undemocratic and harsh policies which have been forced on Scotland by a government at Westminster that we did not vote for.
“It will boost our economy and support households in Dumfries & Galloway to deal with the rising cost of living through a host of measures, such as free school meals, extending childcare and protecting the Council Tax freeze will save hundreds of pounds for households across the country.
“A United Nations report just this week slammed Westminster’s Bedroom Tax, declaring it a potential breach of human rights and has called for its immediate abolition. The Scottish Parliament lacks the powers which are required to abolish the draconian policy but through this budget, we will money put in place to mitigate the Bedroom Tax.
“The only way to truly rid Dumfries & Galloway, and the country, of this tax however is for the Scottish Parliament to be given full control of welfare and benefits, so that we can pursue the egalitarian vision that we for the country. Only a Yes vote in the referendum can deliver those powers to Scotland and remove these unfair policies imposed on Scotland.”