Springboard to work

October 10th, 2011

The phrase ‘we are all in this together’ has rung hollow for some time but it was being wheeled out again by David Cameron and George Osborne at the Tory party conference last week.

For those facing up to the reality of their welfare cuts, it certainly won’t feel that way.

Support available to help the poorest in society is facing deep cuts by an uncaring government intent on taking a wrecking ball to the state.

Now I agree that reform is needed to our welfare system, and I have always believed that welfare should be a safety net and a springboard for people to get back into work and get on in life.

Sadly for some, it has become a way of life and for that reason I agree welfare reform is necessary.

But I cannot support the UK Government’s blanket approach to the issue and made a stand against the proposals when they were debated at the Scottish Parliament this week.

They claim to be targeting the benefits cheats and tax dodgers but at the same time are hitting hard-working families already struggling with pay freezes and cost-of-living rises.

We all know there are people out there who play the system but the government cannot be allowed to use those headline scare stories to withdraw help from those who genuinely need it.

Should the 900 people in Inverclyde who work for the minimum wage have their housing benefit cut?

And should our housing associations hike up rents for all tenants and cancel new developments aimed at those needing quality housing just to meet the gap created by the housing benefit cuts?

If we were all in this together, governments in Holyrood and Westminster would be protecting the low-paid and vulnerable, targeting those who abuse the system and hammering the bankers and tax dodgers who got us into this mess.