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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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LIB/DEMS CONVERT TO CONSERVATIVES ON BENEFITS

Saturday, 18 September 2010

The SNP has warned the Liberal Democrats over their new zeal for Conservative plans to dramatically slash welfare benefits after Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander revealed that planned cuts to the welfare budget could be far greater than the £4 billion in extra savings suggested by the Chancellor last week.

Mr Alexander’s enthusiasm for Tory cuts in an interview in today’s Scotsman comes as the Scottish Local Government Forum Against Poverty revealed research showing that changes to Disability Living Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Housing Benefit, Child Benefit and public sector pensions will take as much as £614million from the economy directly jeopardising 14,000 jobs.

Commenting, SNP spokesperson on work and pensions Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said;

"Having jumped into bed with the Tories, the Liberal Democrats clearly have the zeal of the convert. The next thing, Danny Alexander will be saying there is no such thing as society – real Lib Dems will be horrified.

“Danny Alexander’s assumption appears to be that everybody on benefits is somehow cheating the system or work-shy.

“Of course welfare reform is necessary and of course we must deal with welfare cheats, but reforms must be based on the medical circumstances of individuals, not some random figure which will compound the poverty and social exclusion experienced by disabled people.

“The Scottish Local Government Forum Against Poverty report shows the changes already announced will have a serious impact on Scotland’s economy attacking the poorest and most vulnerable in society.

“We have the same old Tories, now helped by the Liberal Democrats, cutting too far and too fast and leaving the poorest households to bear the brunt of tax rises, benefit cuts and the loss of public services and jobs.

“We simply must not have cuts for the sake of cuts. Not only would that risk forcing the truly vulnerable in society into a perilous position, it also takes vital capital out of the economy without consideration of the impact.”

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