BREXIT THREATENS TO PUSH MORE PEOPLE INTO POVERTY
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed new figures showing that 1,115 payments to low income families have been made under the Scottish Government’s Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods schemes in Midlothian. In East Lothian, 1,055 payments were made under the grant.
The Best Start Grant package is putting more money in the pockets of low income families than the DWP system it replaced.
The Grant comprises three cash payments: the Pregnancy and Baby Payment, for parents with babies up to 6 months old; the Early Learning Payment, for when your child is 2 to 3 and a half years old; and the School Age payment, for when your child reaches school age.
Best Start Foods is a prepaid card that can be used in shops and online to buy healthy foods for children under 3.
The vast majority, 72 percent, of the 1,545 applications processed from Midlothian were approved by Social Security Scotland. Similarly, 71 percent of the 1,490 applications from East Lothian were approved by Social Security Scotland.
Across the country, £17.8 million of Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods payments have been made to support people between 10 December 2018 and 30 September 2019.
Colin said that these figures showed what could be achieved if Scotland had full powers over social security.
The representative for Midlothian North and Musselburgh commented:
“These payments are making a big difference to Midlothian and East Lothian families that are being pushed to the brink by continued Tory welfare cuts.
“This SNP Government has striven to mitigate the worst effects of the Tories’ austerity agenda but Brexit looms like a storm cloud above our heads. Any form of Brexit will hit the Scottish economy and drive more people into poverty – with analysis showing a no deal Brexit will push 130,000 people into poverty.
“The Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods payments sit in stark contrast to the two-child cap, benefits freeze and disastrous Universal Credit rollout recklessly imposed by the Tories in Government. The SNP has sent a strong message about the kind of country we can be – free from these uncaring Tory policies.
“We can create a social security system which works to protect people rather than treating those on low incomes with the hostility and suspicion they have been subjected to under the Tories.
“Only a vote for the SNP will ensure that we can escape Brexit, put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands and foster a society built upon dignity and kindness.”
TORIES SHOULDN’T COSY UP TO TRUMP
Midlothian North and Musselburgh MSP, Colin Beattie joined SNP colleagues in voting to condemn the recent imposition of US tariffs on a range of Scottish goods.
Colin said that these tariffs “disproportionately” affected Scottish produce and that smaller producers in East Lothian and Midlothian would be hit hardest.
The Scottish Government has warned that a No Deal Brexit could cause a significant economic shock which would tip the Scottish economy into recession, with the CBI estimating that it could cost Scotland £14 billion per year by 2034.
Colin said that the escalating trade war with the US showed any form of Brexit would be hugely detrimental to the Scottish economy.
Colin Beattie MSP said:
“The imposition of these tariffs by Donald Trump has caused a great deal of disruption and uncertainty for Midlothian and East Lothian businesses. The likes of are nothing short of iconic. Our local produce is the subject of international envy and admiration; it is pivotal to the prosperity of our local economy.
“It beggars belief that the Tories want to cosy up with Trump for a post-Brexit trade deal when he has shown he can’t be trusted.
“We must escape Brexit so that Scotland is not dragged into a race-to-the-bottom trade deal between Trump and an increasingly desperate Tory administration – cut adrift from our strongest voice on the international stage.
“This is not the future I want for Scotland. Only a vote for the SNP will put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.”
TORY WELFARE CUTS DRIVING MIDLOTHIAN AND EAST LOTHIAN FOOD BANK DEMAND