Actions speak louder than words on benefit cuts

Comments attributed to Edinburgh LibDem MP Mike Crockart branding cuts to benefit payments for people who are classified as under-occupying property as “unfair” have been welcomed by SNP MSP Colin Keir. Mr Keir pointed out that “actions speak louder than words” and that Mr Crockart remains a supporter of a government which is making these attacks on vulnerable people possible.

Recent months have seen the UK coalition set out plans to cut benefits for disabled people, housing benefits for under-25s and people deemed to be under-occupying properties, punish pensioners and restrict access to child tax credits. David Cameron has also suggested regionalising benefits across the UK.

In contrast the Scottish Government has moved to fill the gap created by the UK Government’s 10% housing benefit cut for 2013/14, protecting 560,000 people in Scotland from the effects of the cut. However, the UK Government has indicated its determination to slash £2.5 billion from the level of benefit payments that are made in Scotland annually.

Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Keir who represents the equivalent constituency as Mike Crockart in the Scottish Parliament said:

“Mike Crockart is right to say that plans to cut welfare payments for people deemed to be under-occupying their homes is unfair, but actions speak louder than words. The fact is that he remains a supporter of a government which is making these cuts possible.

“Saying one thing locally, while continuing to prop up the UK Government at Westminster, is exactly the kind of hypocrisy that has led trust and support for the LibDems to evaporate.

“As we have seen with the budget, the Westminster government keep making the wrong decisions for Scotland. Scotland has made a conscious decision to provide certain core universal services, rights or benefits, some of which are no longer prioritised by political leaders elsewhere in the UK.

“With the Westminster Government slashing benefits to the old, the young and the disabled in Scotland – a government Scotland rejected – independence and ensuring all decisions affecting Scotland should be made by those elected in Scotland, becomes the means to avoid these regressive policies.

“We have made it clear time and time again that the savage cuts to money which supports vulnerable people in Scotland are unacceptable.

“The SNP Government is doing its best to protect people in Scotland from the worst of Westminster’s cuts. We have filled the gap for next year created by the UK cutting council tax benefit by ten percent, protecting 560,000 people from hikes in their bills.”