MSP Joan McAlpine has said Scotland is “tackling poverty with one hand tied behind our backs”, following revelations that the SNP Scottish Government has spent almost £400 million in four years plugging the gaps of Tory austerity.
Despite Westminster’s £211m real terms cuts to Scotland’s fiscal resource budget this year, the SNP Government is spending over £127m mitigating UK Government welfare policies, such as the bedroom tax, and supporting those on low incomes.
By the end of this decade, Westminster cuts since 2010 will have reduced annual welfare spend in Scotland by £4 billion, which is more than the entire budget for the new Social Security system in Scotland.
Commenting, MSP Joan McAlpine said:
“The Tories think they can do whatever they want to Scotland and get away with it.
“Despite continued cuts to Scotland’s budget, over the past four years the SNP Scottish Government has spent nearly £400m plugging the gaps created by Tory austerity to try to keep people in Scotland from further hardship.
“In that time, Tory cuts have driven up the number of food bank parcels distributed in Scotland by nearly 30%, and this year alone it’s estimated that Tory cuts will leave 3.1 million children with working parents below the official breadline across the UK.
“It is totally unacceptable that in 2018 people are finding themselves in these situations through absolutely no fault of their own.
“With our limited powers over welfare in Scotland we are building a social security system with dignity and respect at its heart – but as long as the Tory government in Westminster persists with such damaging, callous welfare policies, Scotland will be tackling poverty with one hand tied behind our backs.”
Annandale North ward Councillor Stephen Thompson said:
“Scotland will always have one hand tied behind her back as long as any Westminster Government is setting the policies. This morbid stumbling circus of current Tory government is awful, but the Westminster alternative is a Labour party that puts Party before people and Party before policies, and puts Westminster before Scotland. Labour’s meaningful activity has created a new unit of measurement: Abstentions.”
“In Dumfries and Galloway we’re hamstrung by Labour’s PFI scam, tied into contracts during Labour’s maligned stewardship of Scotland that the children now have to pay for. It takes some perversion to have moved from common sense and the deep-rooted understanding that makes us human – we learn how to make a sacrifice today for a better tomorrow – in Labour’s twisted world we’ve sacrificed the future for the present and now the SNP in Scotland is dutifully having to fix the problems left behind and try and make something good to build on.”