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40,000 to be hit by cuts to disability benefits

Published: 18 Mar 2016 15:33

Opposition voiced at UK Government plans.

Around 40,000 disabled people in Scotland will be worse off if the UK Government press ahead with their changes to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil said today.

Mr Neil has written to the UK Government's Minister for Disabled People to voice his opposition to the cuts which will wipe £130 million a year from disability benefits in Scotland.

The Chancellor's Budget confirmed that up to 30,000 disabled Scots will not receive the daily living component of PIP and so will be £2,873 worse off a year. A further 10,000 will see a reduced amount of award which means they will be £1,418 worse off a year.

This will impact on access to wider support such as Carer's Allowance and free bus travel leaving people isolated and excluded.

PIP is one of the disability benefits which is set to be devolved under the Scotland Bill.

Mr Neil said:

"I have made it clear that I am both disappointed and concerned that the UK Government has chosen to cut expenditure on benefits for disabled people to support other spending choices in the Budget.

"When these proposals were consulted on in January I made the Scottish Government's fundamental opposition clear as did many disabled people and disability organisations.

"I am therefore deeply disturbed that the UK Government intends to press ahead regardless and see hundreds of thousands of disabled people across the UK financially worse off and with potentially serious consequences to their health and wellbeing.

"UK Minsters cannot continue to ignore the voices that are telling them how deeply damaging these cuts will be in supporting disabled people in their daily lives and need to reverse their proposals now.

"The people of Scotland deserve a social security system that has as its cornerstone fairness, dignity and respect."