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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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LIBDEMS DEFEND ‘CALLOUS’ MOBILITY CUT FOR DISABLED

Thursday, 21 October 2010

SCOTTISH SECRETARY UNAWARE HOW MANY AFFECTED BY WELFARE CHANGES

The Liberal Democrats have been branded ‘callous’ over welfare reforms, after Scottish Secretary Michael Moore admitted he had no idea how many people in Scotland would be affected by welfare changes, and LibDem President Malcolm Bruce defended the removal of the mobility component of disability living allowance (DLA) from people living in residential care.

A transcript of exchanges on BBC Newsnight are detailed below in which Mr Moore, on being asked how many people in Scotland would be affected by changes to the Employment Support Allowance said “We don’t have that figure.”

LibDem President Malcolm Bruce also defended the removal of the mobility component of DLA which allows disabled people to hire or lease a mobility car at an affordable price, or use a taxi to get out and about.

Commenting, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“It is frankly shocking that the Secretary of State for Scotland is unaware how many people in Scotland will be affected by his party’s welfare cuts, and that the LibDems president is defending a callous mobility cut which will hit disabled people.

“It is no wonder the Treasury got their figures wrong about how deep their cuts are in Scotland when they can’t even say how many people will be affected by their welfare cuts.

“Removal of the mobility component of disability living allowance from people in residential care is one of the cruelest cuts within the CSR, and one which will hit disabled people specifically. This is a lifeline allowance which gives people, including children at residential special schools, some independence.

“Few residential facilities provide free transport, and the component is used so that, for example, disabled people can get a taxi for essential hospital appointments, go shopping, or even just meet friends and take part in activities in their community.

“Removing this allowance is a hammer blow to people’s independence as well as their pockets. It will effectively mean some people can no longer get out and about and will be confined to their residential care home.

“Nobody doubts that welfare reform is necessary, but this cut by the Tories and Liberal Democrats is totally unfair and will impact on the lives of the most vulnerable in society.”

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