Declining UK economy is driving many Scots to poverty and desperation
Scottish News: Welfare system being ‘ripped asunder’ while UK economy in ‘alarming state’
by Jamie Mann
Citizens Advice Scotland raised the alarm today claiming that the UK welfare system is being “ripped asunder” following Westminster’s austerity cuts. The charity also revealed that it needed funding to train advisors on suicide awareness.
The shocking development comes as news emerged that borrowing in the UK rose dramatically in December 2012, compared to the same month the previous year, according to official figures.
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Public sector borrowing, excluding financial interventions struck £15.4bn - over half a billion greater than the £14.8 bn in December 2011, according to the Office of National Statistics.
The rise in UK government borrowing confirms that the Chancellor Osborne’s debt reduction strategy is unrealistic as fears abound that UK finances are spinning out of control with the pound plummeting and rumours that the UK’s cherished AAA rating will soon be forfeited.
Commenting on the news, Stewart Hosie MP called the figures “alarming”, insisting that the figures demonstrate a lack of growth and a failure of the UK government’s austerity strategy.
Mr Hosie said:
"These borrowing figures are alarming - they underline once again the lack of growth in the UK economy, and the complete failure of a Westminster austerity strategy that is hurting Scotland badly.
"Public sector net borrowing is up over 7 % over the same period last year, and now the latest figures suggest that it reached a mind-boggling £106.5 billion pounds over a year.”
Yesterday, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Scotland Margaret Lynch said that UK government cuts will have “devastating effects” for Scots.
Commenting on Joseph Rowntree Foundation report Monitoring poverty and social exclusion in Scotland 2013 Miss Lynch said:
“The UK Government’s cuts in benefits will take out £2.7 billion from the Scottish economy over the next few years and have a devastating impact on thousands of households across Scotland, those in work, out of work, as well as those with disabilities or caring responsibilities.
“Pushing people further into poverty and financial difficulties will only lead to an increase in other problems such as homelessness, health inequalities, and family breakdown, as well as lead to rising debt and an increase for food hand-outs."
The advice bureaux apparently receives 800 new cases each working day.
Scottish government steps in
The Scottish government yesterday announced a £5.4 million funding package to advice groups in order to help Scots who have been affected by benefit cuts.
More than 20 charities had written to MSPs to warn about the implications that the universal credit reform will have for “disabled and vulnerable citizens”.
The Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the cuts were a “direct result of UK Government benefit cuts”.
As part of the universal credit system up to 1 million Scots will experience cuts to child benefit, with capped increases of 1 per cent in following years.
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