19 Apr 2010


SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson and candidate for Glasgow East, John Mason, has warned that Labour’s dismal decade of cuts may have already begun after it emerged the UK Government have slashed support for disabled people in Scotland.

The Independent Living Fund offers additional financial assistance to people already in receipt of support from social services to provide them with sufficient funds to access essential support. Under proposed changes to the eligibility criteria, the number of people in Scotland eligible for the benefit will plummet.

Qualifying conditions have always ensured that ILF payments are targeted at those adults with the severest disabilities and those in the greatest need. However, the ILF has now tightened its financial eligibility and is only accepting applications from people in paid employment of 16 or more hours per week. In effect this will mean that as of 1 May 2010 the ILF will be entirely closed to new applicants throughout the UK, apart from those very few in paid employment.

Approximately 3,645 people in Scotland currently benefit from the ILF but the Scottish Government estimates that only four individuals will be eligible for ILF based on these criteria in the coming year.

Commenting, Mr Mason said:

“These could be the first cuts of Labour’s dismal decade.

“Alistair Darling has already said Labour’s cuts will be ‘tougher and deeper’ than those of Margaret Thatcher. By slashing funding for a vital support scheme for some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland, Labour have demonstrated there is no diffference between them and the Tories.

“Instead of cutting vital support schemes, Labour should scrap their obscene vanity project, Trident. Spending £100bn on nuclear weapons which the people of Scotland do not want whilst slashing benefits for the most vulnerable is indefensible.

“At this election, the SNP are offering an alternative. A vote for the SNP is a vote to prioritise support for the most vulnerable over investment in weapons of mass destruction. Our message is simple – more nats, mean less cuts.”