A near empty food cupboard. Photo: Oxfam.

The UK Government’s welfare policies and “despicable” cuts to social security benefits have been blasted by a Scottish union at the TUC conference.

EIS President Nicola Fisher called on the TUC to campaign for a welfare system that meets the needs of claimants and communities, and spoke of unjust cuts to social security benefits affecting children and families such as the hated tax credits ‘rape clause‘ and two child cap.

Speaking at the event in Brighton, Nicola Fisher said: “The DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) describes this as the ‘most effective, most compassionate’ way. It would be laughable were it not so despicable.”

She added: “This clause ignores the realities of domestic abuse and ignores the fact that rape occurs within as well as without relationships.”

“We all know or have a third child. A child full of joy and hope and promise, but a child whom the Tory Government considers less worthy and less deserving. Imagine what it must feel like to be the child who is a greater burden on their family.”

SNP launch campaign against the tax credits ‘rape clause’. Photo Credit: SNP/Alison Thewliss MP.

Meanwhile, Education Convener Susan Quinn backed a motion highlighting ‘excessive’ workloads faced by teachers.

Susan Quinn said: “The Code of Practice on Working Time Arrangements for Teachers outlines how a teacher in any Scottish establishment should be able to manage their work in a 35-hour working week.”

“Yet, like our colleagues in England and Wales, recent surveys show that class teachers and managers alike are regularly well beyond this.

“Indeed, the most recent independent research into teacher workload found that 40% of those surveyed were considering leaving the profession within the next 18 months due to workload issues.”

Ms Quinn added: “We’ve seen innovation on top of innovation catapulted into schools with no thought for the time it will take to implement these in classrooms and no evaluation of the impact on teacher workload.”

“Five years ago, our then Cabinet Secretary for Education spoke at an EIS conference and acknowledged the workload issue for teachers.”

“He established a working group on tackling bureaucracy which made two reports and all in the system agreed we must reduce the workload in schools. So why, five years on, do our members not report a dramatic improvement in their working life?”

Featured Image: Oxfam.