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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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APPROACH BENEFIT REFORM ‘WITH CARE’ – SNP MP

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Commenting on reports that Chancellor George Osborne is planning to reduce the annual welfare bill by a further £4bn, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson, Dr Eilidh Whiteford, warned that benefit reforms must be based on genuine medical evidence.

Dr Whiteford said:

“The benefits system badly needs reform but it must be undertaken with care.

“While supporting benefit reform, genuinely vulnerable individuals must not become an easy target for Conservative and Liberal cuts.

“There are already huge questions over the assessment process with people undergoing chemotherapy, in some cases terminally ill people, being ordered to attend back-to-work interviews.

“Return-to-work initiatives can benefit both the economy and the individual, but people should only return to the workplace when they are genuinely able and when correct support measures are available.

“Existing safeguards are not working and, with major reforms in the pipeline, we need real guarantees to ensure that that people living with genuine incapacity and ill health are spared added stress and uncertainty.”

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