Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow and Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, today asked First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, for clarity on the issues surrounding UK Government welfare cuts.
Speaking at First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood, Mr Harvie asked whether the Scottish Government has made an assessment of the likely impact on Scotland of a £12 billion reduction in the UK welfare system.
The First Minister responded by saying that a full assessment is not yet possible, but that the Scottish Government will “never seek to stigmatise the most vulnerable in our society”, and will continue “as far as we can” to mitigate the impact of cuts.
Ms Sturgeon also welcomed the invitation to do what is necessary to help marshal wider opposition to attempts to remove the safety net of social security, a hallmark of a civilised society.
Mr Harvie said:
“We can’t know what the impact of these cuts will be, given that the Conservative Party committed to them without caring how they are to be achieved.
“No wonder then that one of the attendees at the Poverty Alliance event in Holyrood last night told me that she has never seen such a tangible level of fear amongst so many people, in the face of this threat to what remains of the welfare state.
“We can argue for greater control of social security in Scotland, but we also have a responsibility to build opposition to these cuts across the whole UK following years of stigmatising and blaming people in poverty, indeed a propaganda war against the welfare state itself.
“That is why I urge the Scottish Government, in its actions and in its use of language, to reclaim the principle of a society based on mutual care and compassion, where everyone’s dignity matters, not just those labelled “strivers” or “hard working families”.