Austerity in the UK: Westminster cuts hit children and disabled hard

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The UK government's austerity cuts are plunging children into poverty

Scottish News: Austerity in the UK - Westminster cuts hit children and disabled hard

by Leah Pears

Children and disabled people are among the many groups that will suffer more from the UK government’s welfare cuts than originally predicted, it has been confirmed this week.

A further 200,000 UK children will be pushed into poverty as a result of the Tory-LibDem coalition benefit cuts, admitted Esther McVey, the work and pensions minister for the UK government. The same figure is also the total number of children who are currently experiencing poverty in Scotland.

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It is also estimated that around 400,000 disabled people will lose out in the new cuts far surpassing the original estimate of around 150,000. Many will lose benefits that allow for mobility, confining them to their own homes, while others will no longer be provided with the care they need to help feed and wash themselves.

A recent report by Citizens Advice Scotland shows that 780 people call their helpline every day to seek support after experiencing cuts to their welfare benefits.

The report also shows that the number of people needing help to deal with benefits cuts have more than doubled since the Conservatives came to power with a cuts agenda aimed at dealing with their Labour predecessors’ economic crisis.

Annabelle Ewing, a member of the Scottish parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee, said: “Westminster has failed to provide any additional support for the charities that are struggling to cope with the consequences of the Tory-LibDem welfare cuts.

“It is a ludicrous situation where support workers are being pushed to breaking point because David Cameron and his band of welfare cutters plunge so many people into poverty.”

Independence and welfare

Former Labour MP and chair of the Yes Scotland campaign Dennis Canavan spoke out on Wednesday against the benefit cuts and argued that the way to a fairer and more equal Scotland is through a yes vote in the 2014 referendum.

The Scottish government announced the creation of the Expert Working Group earlier this month, which will draw up recommendations for a fairer welfare system for an independent Scotland.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the group is the "first step on the journey towards creating a welfare system which will support the economy and society of an independent Scotland".

Ms Ewing, an SNP MSP, added: “It is clear the only way to defend the Welfare State is to vote Yes in 2014 and protect it against Westminster politicians who become increasingly out of touch with the values and needs of the people of Scotland more and more every day.”

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published this page in News 2013-01-18 13:52:38 +0000