Commenting on the vote at Westminster to support the Tories plan for a permanent cap on welfare spending, which was supported by the vast majority of Labour MPs despite a small backbench rebellion, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, SNP Welfare spokesperson, said :
“The SNP voted against the welfare cap today because it piles yet more pain onto our poorest pensioners, carers, disabled people and low income families. This cap is just a crude, blunt, instrument. It is shocking that so many Scottish Labour MPs have backed the Tories, especially after the rhetoric at their conference in Perth.
“The cap once again puts the most disadvantaged people in our communities on the front line. It is blatant ring-wing politics, not aimed at solving any of the long term problems which are getting worse because of Westminster’s austerity agenda, an agenda now supported by all the anti-independence parties.
“The best way to reduce and manage welfare spending is to restore the economy to a state of health, and that’s what this Westminster government is failing to do. If the government was serious about reducing welfare spending, it would be creating more job opportunities in sectors that pay a living wage; it would be investing more in childcare to enable parents to work or increase their hours; and it would be building more affordable homes and taking action on housing costs.
“In Scotland we’re spending a lower proportion of revenue and GDP on social protection than the UK as a whole, and we have invested heavily in affordable housing, with the highest rate of new build social sector homes anywhere in the UK. Only with a YES vote in September can we get all welfare decisions back to Scotland, and ensure that we have no more of this crude short term political gesturing, and really tackle our problems .”