Sturgeon has failed to mitigate cruel Tory cuts


​Greens attack Scottish Government over amount budgeted to counter Westminster's benefit cap 

8th September 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of failing to mitigate the Tories “cruel” benefit cap.

Patrick Harvie, co-convener of the Scottish Greens, challenged the first minister over her government's reluctance to counter the costs fully.

Research by the Green Party shows lowering of the cap since November has hit 3,700 households and pushed over 11,000 children into potential poverty and homelessness.

But although Scottish Government has allocated around £8 million in Discretionary Housing Payments it falls well short of the estimated losses of £11m.

Harvie said: "The Child Poverty Action Group and others have shown that discretionary housing payments are inadequate to meet the needs of families affected by the benefit cap. Some councils have insufficient resources to mitigate the cap at all.

We are now seeing the terrible impact on children in our communities - Alison Johnstone

"The first minister acknowledges the urgency of the problem yet is reluctant to fully tackle it.

While it would be better for the UK government to scrap the cap, that's clearly not going to happen so we must be prepared to close the gap ourselves rather than allow more debt, more evictions and more hunger in our communities."

Green MSP Alison Johnstone last week called for the benefit cap to be scrapped, or alternatively for the Scottish Government to mitigate the change in a similar way to the so-called bedroom tax.

Johnstone said: “Seven years into the Tories’ cruel agenda of cuts, we now see the terrible impact on children in our communities.

“By reducing the social security support available, while ignoring rising housing costs, the UK government has pushed an additional 11,000 children into potential poverty and homelessness.

“Our analysis shows that to mitigate this unfair UK policy, the Scottish Government could take the same approach as it rightly did with the hated bedroom tax, and use its powers over discretionary housing payments to end the misery caused by the benefit cap.

“This would cost in the region of two million pounds a year but it would make a huge difference to the lives of vulnerable families across Scotland.”

The Scottish Goverenment has been asked for comment.