SNP MP Ian Blackford has ripped into the DWP’s ‘austerity agenda’

Ian Blackford and the DWP logo
Support us and go ad-free

SNP MP Ian Blackford has launched a scathing attack on the UK government’s continued commitment to austerity.

“Damaging austerity agenda”

As Welfare Weekly reported, Blackford is making a speech on 10 July, in which he will:

set out how the UK can learn from Scotland’s progressive economic policies, and will call for the UK Government to “press the reset button” on its damaging austerity agenda.

Ahead of the speech, Blackford stated:

The UK Government has lessons to learn – that defining and delivering a strong economy must have the economic interests of all citizens at its core.

“A political choice”

Blackford then highlighted how the Scottish approach to welfare differs from Westminster’s:

While the UK Government continues its endless austerity policy – the SNP Scottish Government has made different decisions with the powers we have in Scotland. Austerity is a political choice, not a necessity.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

In the face of Tory austerity, the Scottish Government is providing the best public services across the UK … For us economic justice requires social reform as well as economic reform. The two are not independent but interdependent. Only by building a fairer society can we build a wealthier, fairer nation.

“Remake the system”

In April 2018, the Scottish parliament announced “historic new welfare powers” through the establishment of a new Scottish social security agency.

Scotland’s welfare minister Jeane Freeman declared:

This Bill has been an opportunity to set up a new service and to do things differently – to remake the system in a way that fits the ambition we have for ourselves as a Parliament and for our country.

MSPs voted for radical changes such as barring “unnecessary medical assessments for those claiming disability benefits”. This is likely to benefit Scottish disability claimants greatly. A freedom of information request revealed that the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) policy of re-assessing cases meant claimants in Scotland are losing out massively, to the tune of £56.4m a year.

Out with the old

The DWP’s flagship policy – Universal Credit – is a disaster. It’s an example of what happens when the government doesn’t have “the economic interests of all citizens at its core”.

As the Guardian reported, a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) found that Universal Credit is “unlikely to ever deliver value for money”. And it has increased food bank use and rent arrears.

As Steve Topple wrote in The Canary:

The NAO report highlights the chaos and suffering Universal Credit is inflicting on claimants. It also shines a light onto the financial and organisational chaos the DWP is presiding over. And it further shows a department whose behaviour is dogmatic and systematically arrogant.

The Scottish parliament doesn’t have the power to abolish Universal Credit yet. But its devolved powers give it the opportunity to demonstrate the viability and benefits of a welfare system that puts the interests of claimants first.

No wonder Blackford is feeling positive.

Get Involved!

– Support Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and the Mental Health Resistance Network, fighting for disabled people’s rights.

– Join The Canary so we can keep bringing you the analysis others miss.

Featured image via YouTube and UK government – Wikimedia.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed