The Scottish Labour Party has been accused of an ‘appalling error of judgement’ after voting to continue the national rollout of Personal Independence Payments (PIP).
PIP is replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) as part of widespread welfare reforms introduced by the Tory-led coalition Government.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) say the new benefit could lead to 105,000 disabled people in Scotland losing vital financial support, worth at least £1,120 per year.
47,000 disabled people with severe mobility issues are expected to lose up to £2,964 per year under the new system, say the SNP.
According to the SNP, “Labour attempted to delete a call for Westminster to halt the rollout of PIPs” from a motion being debated in the Scottish Parliament.
SNP say Labour MSP’s “lined up to support the Tory Government’s appalling plans to cut support for disabled people”. Adding: “Labour in Scotland will always back their party bosses”.
The original motion put before the Scottish Parliament by Margaret Burgess reads:
“Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—That the Parliament notes the damaging and destructive impact of the UK Government’s welfare policies on disabled people across Scotland; recognises that around 105,000 working age disabled people will lose some or all of their disability benefits by 2018 as the result of the replacement of disability living allowance with personal independence payment (PIP), with a loss of at least £1,120 per year and, as a consequence of changes in eligibility to the mobility component, 47,000 disabled people are expected to lose up to £2,964 per year; notes that wider benefit reforms are having a disproportionate impact on disabled people, who already face higher costs of living, and calls on the UK Government to halt the roll out of PIP, which will severely disadvantage disabled people across Scotland.”
SNP MSP Kevin Stewart said:
“This is absolutely shocking behaviour from Labour who have today lined up to support the Tory Government’s appalling plans to cut support for disabled people.
“The rollout of Personal Independence Payments has been a shambles since day one and it is hard to see why Labour has given their support to cutting support worth hundreds of pounds a year to people with disabilities.
“It shows that when it comes down to it, Labour in Scotland will always back their party bosses at Westminster over the needs of people in Scotland.
“With the Smith Commission currently looking at Scotland gaining welfare responsibilities, it is entirely reasonable to expect the rollout of PIPs to be halted.
“Westminster’s repeated failures when it comes to welfare show that Scotland needs to gain responsibility for welfare so that we can support vulnerable people instead of punishing them.”
Welfare Weekly has found evidence of at least three attempted edits of the original motion (see above), including by Labour MSP Jackie Baillie.