Wed 22 May, 2019

Greens today called for a substantial re-investment in social security, after a major new report slammed UK Government welfare reforms for driving significantly increased poverty.

Phillip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty, has slammed cuts to the social security system, saying that the UK Government has “doubled down on [an] agenda to reduce benefits by every means available."

Alison Johnstone MSP, Scottish Greens Parliamentary co-leader, said:

"Phillip Alston’s damning conclusions are yet more evidence that the UK Government must stop the welfare ‘reforms’ that are pushing hundreds of thousands of Scots into poverty, and to substantially re-invest in our social security system.

"That Alston has called the UK system a "far cry" from human rights should be a major wake-up call for the UK Government to reverse course and for the Scottish Government to accelerate its positive work to recognise social security as a human right.

"The report makes clear the harm being inflicted on our poorest citizens is an ideological choice, not a necessity, and that change is needed before our society is irreparably damaged by extreme poverty.

"It is time to scrap the benefits freeze, the benefits cap and the two-child limit; halt and fix Universal Credit and reverse cuts to disability benefits.

"Whilst the report makes clear that UK social security cuts are a primary driver of poverty, the Scottish Government has a role to play in challenging this, by topping-up Child Benefit by £5 and using new powers over disability benefits to undo the huge cuts that have caused untold damage to the lives of tens of thousands of disabled Scots."

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Alison Johnstone MSP said: