UK GOV TO BLAME FOR “YEARS OF UNNECESSARY CRUELTY AND SUFFERING”
Jamie Greene MSP must apologise for the Tories refusal to accept responsibility over the rise in foodbank demand, SNP MSP Stuart McMillan has said – after DWP boss Amber Rudd finally admitted Universal Credit was leaving people without food.
Foodbank providers and other experts have consistently argued that there was a direct link between Tory welfare reform and the staggering rise in food poverty.
Despite the overwhelming evidence, Tory welfare spokesperson Michelle Ballantyne argued: “What we haven’t got is hard evidence about what the real causes are… I haven’t yet seen the concrete evidence of where that’s coming from.”
Amber Rudd yesterday admitted that there was a direct connection, saying: “It is absolutely clear that there were challenges with the initial rollout of Universal Credit –and the main issue that led to an increase in food bank use could have been the fact that people had difficulty accessing their money early enough.”
Commenting, SNP MSP Stuart McMillan said:
“We have known for years that Tory cuts were driving up foodbank demand – yet Tory politicians preferred to stick their fingers in their ears than accept reality.
“The impact in Inverclyde has been undeniable. Since the rollout of Universal Credit in Inverclyde in 2016, foodbank usage has risen dramatically, with 6,404 food packages distributed between April 2017 and March 2018 in comparison to 3,578 packages in the same period the year previous.
“Numerous constituents have contacted me about these so-called welfare reforms, which are plunging them into crisis, so it’s no surprise that the Tories’ austerity agenda has coincided with foodbank usage in Inverclyde increasing by 350% from 2012 to 2018.
“Finally, Amber Rudd has admitted that Universal Credit has left people penniless – although that admission fell well short of the apology required.
“The Tories must now accept that they were wrong to deny the link – and Jamie Greene MSP should apologise for the shameful impact his party’s approach has had, inflicting years of unnecessary cruelty and suffering.
“And with the Tories accepting that their policies have left people dependent on charity to feed themselves, we urgently need a new approach to welfare – modelled on the Scottish example, built on dignity and respect.”