New figures have been published showing the Scottish Government is having to spend hundreds of millions of pounds from the devolved Scottish budget to mop up Westminster’s mess on welfare policy.
The figures, compiled by SPICe, reveal that between 2013 and 2015, the Scottish Government will be spending £258.85 million on mitigating Westminster’s welfare cuts – money that could have been spent on other parts of the budget if the welfare cuts were not taking place.
Scotland’s Future makes clear that an independent Scotland would undo damage being inflicted by Westminster by halting the further rollout of Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payments and by completely abolishing the Bedroom Tax.
Meanwhile, opinion surveys have consistently shown that people in Scotland want the Scottish Parliament to be able to make decisions on welfare, with the most recent Scottish Social Attitudes Survey finding that 57% of people in Scotland want decisions on welfare and benefits made in Scotland.
Commenting, SNP MSP Linda Fabiani said:
“These new figures make it clear just how much the Scottish Government has had to do to mitigate the disastrous welfare cuts that are being inflicted on Scotland by Westminster.
“More than £250 million has had to be found from other parts of the Scottish budget to mop up the mess left by Westminster’s unfair welfare reforms, and protect people in Scotland from the worst of what the Tory-Lib Dem Government is doing.
“Providing that funding is the right thing to do - but there can be no doubt that it has caused pressures that only exist because of Westminster’s actions.
“With the powers of an independent Scotland we will be able to set a tax and welfare policy in Scotland that reflects the values of people in Scotland – something polling has consistently shown people in Scotland want.
“Only a YES vote this year will secure that right for Scotland, and ensure that Scotland is no longer left to mop up the mess left by poor decisions at Westminster.”