22nd March 2016

Motherwell and Wishaw MP, Marion Fellows, has condemned the Tories’ new budget of forced austerity on Scotland which targeted the disabled.

The Chancellor’s latest budget will see a £1.5 billion cut to Scotland’s funding for day to day public services over the next four years.

Reforms were planned for Personal Independence Payments with the aim to save £4 billion by 2021. The Institute for Fiscal Studies said the reforms would have affected 370,000 disabled people who would have lost on average £3,500 a year.

Following sustained pressure from the SNP benches and public outcry, DWP head, Ian Duncan Smith, stood down as Secretary for the DWP and the UK Government u-turned on its policy.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“Despite forcing Scotland into a decade of austerity, the Chancellor has still failed to meet his targets on trade, debt and deficit. The latest budget is austerity by choice; not necessity.

Austerity does not work. The SNP has outlined a viable alternative to increase spending in our public services and create the jobs that our communities need.

However, the most troubling announcement was reforms to Personal Independence Payments which would have forced further cuts to disabled members of our community.

Figures show that 875 people in Motherwell and Wishaw claim PIP and that 823 would have been affected by the cuts. People are already struggling and these punitive reforms will only make things harder for disabled members of our community.

All while corporations received a further tax cut. The Chancellor has revealed his true colours and shows that his top priority is the welfare of his corporate cronies than the welfare of disabled members of the community. This was a clear, sustained attack on the vulnerable.

The cuts are so dreadful that the architect of the Bedroom Tax, Ian Duncan Smith, has stood down from his role as the head of the Department of Work and Pensions.

I urge any constituents who are experiencing any issues with their benefits to contact my office for assistance against the DWP’s punitive ‘reforms’ and sanctions.”