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  By Sean Martin
The SNP has condemned the cross-party support the Westminster Government received for a planned permanent cap on welfare spending as “shocking” and labelled it “a crude, blunt instrument”.
Westminster MPs voted on Wednesday to place a limit on welfare spending despite seemingly fundamental disagreements over what areas require the most funding.  Prior to the decision, reports had suggested up to 20 Labour party backbenchers were planning to reject calls from the leadership to vote in favour of the proposals.

The final vote came in at 520-22 in support of the cap, which will affect things like disability allowance, child support and housing benefits – though pension payments and cyclical unemployment benefits are not included.

Chancellor George Osborne announced in last week’s budget that, after the 2015 general election, the welfare spending cap would be set at £119bn in line with current spending plans.  Following Wednesday’s vote, any party which breaches the limit will be required to seek parliamentary approval and give a public explanation.

The SNP’s Welfare Spokesperson, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, condemned the mainstream Westminster parties following the vote and said the cap would negatively affect the most disadvantaged people in the country.

“The SNP voted against the welfare cap today because it piles yet more pain onto our poorest pensioners, carers, disabled people and low income families,” said Dr Whiteford.  “It is blatant right-wing politics, not aimed at solving any of the long term problems which are getting worse because of Westminster’s austerity agenda – an agenda now supported by all the anti-independence parties.”

Mr Osborne told parliament that the welfare cap “brings responsibility, accountability and fairness” while opposition finance spokesperson Ed Balls said that the Labour party had long been calling for a welfare spending cap themselves.  Balls insisted his party would abide by it were they voted in, but would change the allocation of funds within it.  Junior coalition partners the Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, added that considered the cap a helpful medium- to long-term planning tool.

Dr Whiteford, meanwhile, questioned whether imposing a welfare cap was the right way to simultaneously manage that spending sector and improve the economy overall.  She added that, in her opinion, the Westminster government was currently failing to restore the economy to a state of health.

“Only with a Yes vote in September can we get all welfare decisions back to Scotland, ensure that we have no more of this crude short-term political gesturing and really tackle our problems,” she said.

“If the government was serious about reducing the welfare spending it would be creating more job opportunities in sectors that pay a living wage, investing more in childcare to enable parents to work or increase their hours and building more affordable homes and taking action on housing costs.”


2014-03-26 23:49

An unnecessary step. Reducing welfare by reducing welfare is harmful to all. Reducing welfare with better governance is beneficial to all.
2014-03-27 00:01

I see that the “Scottish” Labour Party (North Britain branch office) return to their socialist roots lasted less than a week. Today the following voted with the Tories and LibDems to put a cap on welfare assistance…

Margaret Curran,Tom Greatrex,Ian Murray,
Willie Bain,Gordon Banks,Tom Clarke,Anne Begg,Alistair Darling,Ian Davidson, Thomas Docherty,Frank Doran, Gemma Doyle,
Sheila Gilmore, David Hamilton, Tom Harris,Jimmy Hood, Cathy Jamieson,Mark Lazarowicz,Greg  g McClymont,Anne McGuire,
Anne McKechin,Iain McKenzie,Graham  e Morris,Jim Murphy,Pamela Nash,Sandra Osborne,John Robertson,Frank Roy,
Lindsay Roy,and Anas Sarwar. Gordon Brown, allegedly MP, was absent as usual

All SNP MP’s voted against the Tories plan attacking the poorest in our society.

It appears that Johann Lamont has as much control over Westminster MPs as she does over numbers and other wee things.

Labour, Tories and LibDems are certainly Better Together!
2014-03-27 00:19

It will be interesting to see if the MSM let the Labour Party away with this attack on the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.
All their rhetoric at the weekend exposed as lies by one vote.
The first time they get the opportunity to show compassion and defend the vulnerable what do they do?
Blue Tories ,Red Tories Yellow Tories , I despair for our English neighbours.
2014-03-27 03:02

So what would happen to their cap if everyone claimed what they are entitled too?
2014-03-27 12:27

It would be like any other absolute cap: Budget allocated in April; money runs out in January; people are stalled till April or their claims are rejected outright.

Between January and April people can presumably be relied upon to make “efficiency savings on food and heat and shelter….
Nigel Mace
2014-03-27 12:31

Excellent point which underlines the callous disregard of real needs for this ‘cap’ would be blown apart. How long before there is a Health Cap? Except of course that will be disguised as ‘personal budgets’. That vote now makes it official – there are only Tory parties left in the ‘mainstream’ of British politics and that very much includes that limp body laughingly know as ‘Scottish Labour’

Ready to Start
2014-03-27 07:59

Not just Gordon Brown who was absent the Herald and BBC have a news blackout on this story whilst bigging up UKIP and Lib Dems
2014-03-27 14:20

I wonder how these Labour MPs really felt even the slightest shame at trooping through the voting lobby with the Toxic Tories, in order to further penalise the poorest in society.

I see Anas Sarwar and his nine fellow absentees from the Bedroom Tax vote managed to turn up on this occasion, to vote with their Tory pals. Habitual absentee North British Broon failed to turn up – again! What does he draw his salary and expenses for, exactly?
2014-03-27 19:31

The Westminster Parties will of course follow up this move with Caps on the replacement Trident Cost and the High Speed Train project. And then Hammond will have a cap on the new fighter jets for the Aircraft Carrier!. Aye right don’t hold your breath Cap Benefits, British Subjects get shafted first as always. Wake up Scots. A national cap on unemployment benefits will be on the table. Wait till 2015 Westminster Election. Ask your Labour MP if they would vote for that as well.

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