UK Chancellor, George Osborne, will be seeking austerity cuts long
after Scotland's independence referendum
Scottish News: Third World Britain - Austerity causing social crisis as Westminster cuts again
by Róisín O'Brien
Poverty desperation in the UK has reached new levels, as evidenced from reports coming in from a food bank in Cumbria.
One woman is reported by staff to have walked a round trip of almost 20 miles to collect rations, while another arthritis sufferer walked 12 miles to the foodbank, not being able to afford public transport.
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The food bank is one of 280 food banks around the country overseen by the charity Trussell Trust. The foodbank in Cumbira has fed 248 adults and 55 adults since opening in July.
Chris Mould, the executive chairman of Trussell Trust has stated:
“Across the UK Trussell Trust foodbanks are seeing thousands more people in crisis turn to us for help. Every day we meet parents who are skipping meals to feed their children, or people who are forced to choose between eating and heating. This winter is looking particularly bleak as food and energy prices rise whilst incomes remain static.”
The news comes in light of George Osborne’s Autumn Statement that outlines £5bn in cuts that will extend austerity into 2018. The date will be both after the Scottish independence referendum and the general election.
First Minister Alex Salmond has criticised Osborne’s cutting of departmental budgets. Instead, he suggests:
“Unlocking additional funds for investment in public sector capital projects through the use of the UK government’s borrowing powers would provide an immediate and targeted stimulus across the three devolved nations.”
While Scots back the SNP government support of healthcare and university finance, Scotland was characterised as a “something for nothing” nation by Scottish Labour Leader Johann Lamont as she conducts the party’s ‘Cuts Commission’.
With the austerity crisis thus reaching such critical levels, Scottish voters will have to decide if they agree with what the UK government is planning to do with regard to tackling poverty and Britain’s chronic debt problem or as the SNP argue vote for independence to escape more austerity.
UK crisis hits Scotland
Reacting to the Autumn Statement John Dickie, head of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said: “At a time of soaring energy and food prices the failure to uprate benefits and tax credits in line with inflation is a brutal blow to families across Scotland.
“Working families have been the victims of well over half of the Coalition’s benefit cuts to date and today’s further real terms cut to the value of benefits and tax credits will compound the damage, plunging tens of thousands more of our children into poverty whether their parents are working, unemployed, sick or disabled.”
Pointing to the treasury’s own analysis of the autumn statement, Mr Dickie condemned the highly regressive nature of the Chancellors tax and spend decisions.
“Yet again we see low income families hit the hardest. The Coalition government is slashing the incomes of all those in the poorest half of the population whilst boosting three out of five of those in the richest half! Their must be no more pretence that this is fair or that we are all in this together.”
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