Alex Neil MSP has welcomed the launch of the Scottish Campaign on Welfare Reform’s (SCOWR) “Manifesto for Change” which includes a number of issues he has been campaigning on for some time.
“A Manifesto for Change”, published in the run up to the Westminster elections, calls for an increase in basic benefit payments, a simplified benefits system and to make welfare benefits in Scotland, suitable for Scotland. Mr Neil has welcomed the call for basic benefits to match Minimum Income Standards, which has been calculated as being £166.44 per week by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Basic benefits only reach around £65 a week now.
By up-rating the likes of Carers Allowance, reforming the disastrous Employment Support Allowance, scrapping plans to remove Attendance Allowance and making the welfare system easier to access will go a long way to a fairer society, according to Mr Neil.
Mr Neil has described the proposed reforms as “urgently required” and would be “make a significant improvement to the living standards of many people in Lanarkshire.”
SCOWR is a coalition of 40 third sector groups in Scotland including Citizens Advice Scotland, the Poverty Alliance and SCVO.
Mr Neil said:
“I am greatly impressed by the SCOWR’s manifesto for the Westminster elections. I called for many of the measures they suggest to help people here in Lanarkshire.
“Their demands echo my calls for an urgent reform to the disastrous Employment Support Allowance, removing the UK Government’s threat to Attendance Allowance and making the system more accessible.
“These reforms, along with a raise in benefits payments – especially Carers Allowance, would bring dignity and respect to the welfare system where there is none at present.
“These reforms would bring so many people out of poverty here in Lanarkshire and would give us a fairer society which would actually save us money in the long run. As the SCOWR manifesto points out, significant short term investment in the welfare system will see long term as the cost of poverty and barriers to paid employment fall.”