Westminster Austerity Undermining Scottish Government Progress


Categories: Constituency, Inequality, SNP Scottish Government, UK Government (Westminster)

Fighting Poverty Crucial in Reducing Health Inequalities

Stirling MP Alyn Smith has welcomed a Scottish Parliament report which recommends the Tory Westminster Government “take action to align benefits and tax credits with inflation and to reinstate the uplift in Universal Credit” to tackle Scotland’s health inequalities.

The report by Holyrood’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee also recognised “that powers over employment law, and the majority of work-related social security benefits, are reserved to the UK Government” and that both the Covid-19 pandemic and the rapidly rising cost of living have exacerbated health inequalities across Scotland.

The Scottish Government operates on a fixed budget, with limited fiscal and borrowing powers. Energy and large swathes of social security powers remain reserved to Westminster.

Local Stirling MP Alyn Smith said:

‘It’s heartening to see the progress made by the Scottish Government in tackling poverty and health inequalities, despite limited powers – and frustrating to see this progress consistently stymied by Westminster cuts, austerity and poor economic policies. Game-changing policies like the £25-per-week Scottish Child Payment can only do so much when the Tories are setting fire to the economy.

‘The economic chaos we’ve seen since the new UK Chancellor’s ‘mini-budget’ last Friday is concrete proof of the harm Westminster continues to inflict on Scottish households and businesses. Only when equipped with the full levers of a normal independent country can Scotland properly address the causes of poverty and create a wealthier, happier and fairer future for everyone.’


Link to the report.