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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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SNP COMMENT ON WELFARE WHITE PAPER

Thursday, 11 November 2010

ENCOURAGEMENT BACK TO WORK ONLY HALF A SOLUTION

SNP Work and Pensions Spokesperson, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, has warned that the programme of benefit reform set out today is ‘only half a solution’ to the problems facing the unemployed across the UK.

Dr Whiteford welcomed enhanced support for job seekers but warned that the programme would stall if the UK Government did nothing to support job creation.

Commenting, Dr Whiteford said:

“Reform of the benefits system is long overdue and some of the measures set out today – particularly the universal credit – are very welcome however, what Ministers put forward today was just half a solution.

“This plan is predicated on massive and immediate growth in employment – a development which no credible forecaster is predicting.

“We must look at how best we get people back into the workplace, but reforms must be undertaken with care and common sense. Apart from anything else, this Tory/Lib Dem idea could well cut across other initiatives, such as prisoners having to do hard work through tough punishment in the community, which both the UK and Scottish Governments are pursuing in order to cut reoffending rates.

“The Tory/Lib Dem assumption does appear to be that everybody on benefits is somehow cheating the system or work-shy – what the Con Dem coalition should be working on most is creating real jobs.

"UK Ministers cannot embark on a back-to-work programme if there are no jobs to go to. Indeed, the decision by the Con Dem coalition to slash public spending too hard and too fast has put thousands of public sector jobs at risk and endangered the Scottish recovery.

“The Con Dem coalition have got their priorities all wrong – they should be focusing on supporting recovery and job creation, instead of spending cuts which are too fast and too deep and will actually worsen unemployment rates.”

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