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Some families are still going to be worse off as a result of benefit cuts, and, if we are to be a fairer, equal and inclusive country, these must stop and be reversed. Alison Johnstone MSP

The UK Government’s cuts to benefits target women and children, and must be reversed, according to Scottish Greens social security spokesperson Alison Johnstone MSP.

Speaking in this afternoon’s Holyrood debate – Impact of UK Government Welfare Cuts and Universal Credit on Poverty – Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green MSP for Lothian, said:

“Cuts to our social security system, including to Universal Credit, are taking money out of the pockets and wallets of some of our poorest households. As the Institute for Fiscal Studies notes, Universal Credit is quite deliberately creating millions of losers.

“We still have the Benefit Cap, which places an entirely arbitrary limit on benefits and breaks the link between assessments of need and what is paid out. We still have the two-child limit, which will mean families with more than 2 children will struggle to provide for their basic needs. And we still have the Benefit Freeze, which leaves people unable to afford increases in the cost of living as their incomes fall with food and energy price rises.

“Cutting social security reduces the incomes of women disproportionately. The Benefit Cap targets women and their children for cuts. The latest figures for August this year show that almost 90% of the single claimants impacted by the Benefit Cap in Scotland are women.

“Poverty is a tragedy because it means that hundreds of thousands of Scots, including over 200,000 children, are growing up without access to the resources, opportunities and life chances that everyone else takes for granted. I accept that some improvements have and are being made to Universal Credit, and these are welcome. But some families are still going to be worse off as a result of benefit cuts, and, if we are to be a fairer, equal and inclusive country, these must stop and be reversed.”