Proof the SNP don’t care one bit about Scotland’s poor.
SCOTLAND’S poorest families are being kept in poverty because of the SNP’s obsession with “bribing” voters with free handouts, a report has claimed.
Schemes such as the council tax freeze, free personal care and free tuition fees have taken a billion pounds out of initiatives aimed at tackling poverty across the country.
In a review of Scottish public spending, finance expert Professor Arthur Midwinter says the Scottish Government cannot afford to maintain such policies in the face of impending cuts in public spending.
He says that the cost of the populist policies means that the SNP administration “no longer has an anti-poverty programme”.
Commissioned by Labour, Prof Midwinter’s report says universal benefits and the council tax freeze have led to cuts in efforts designed to help people out of poverty.
He adds that the pressure to fund such programmes will increase after the next election, when he believes the Scottish block grant from Westminster will be cut by £2.2billion.
The report also states that spending on universal services and the council tax freeze has gone up from £568million in 2007 to £1.6billion in next year’s Budget. It reads: “There is no sound financial reason why the universal benefits or subsidies should be exempt from the resource constraints which other programmes are facing, resulting in major savings.
“The major gainers from these universal benefits have been the middle and upper income households.
“Around £1billion of targeted spend on poverty has disappeared. Scotland no longer has a national anti-poverty programme, despite Nicola Sturgeon claiming in 2008 that the government would ‘address the root causes of poverty once and for all’. In fact, poverty levels have increased since then.”
A Labour spokesman said: “It is time the SNP faced up to this challenge and was honest about the hard decisions we face.”
Universal benefits introduced by the Scottish Parliament also include free prescription charges and free bus travel for the over-60s.
The SNP Government rejected the findings, saying it has recently introduced budget measures to reduce the impact of the so-called “bedroom tax” on families in social housing.
Nationalist MSP Linda Fabiani said: “This raises questions about Johann Lamont’s Cuts Commission – Labour are facing in different directions.
“In Dunfermline, they published a ridiculous last-minute leaflet which said ‘We continue to support a freeze’ in council tax, yet the chair of Labour’s Cuts Commission says he is against it. What is Labour’s position?”
And there you have it folks. Proof beyond doubt that the SNP care only about support from themselves, and will use the poorest in our society as pawns in their blame game.
The SNP COULD have made a major impact on poverty with that £1,000,000,000, but winning over voters in the referendum was more important.
They shout about poverty and foodbanks constantly. But they wont do anything about them.
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