As communities across Renfrewshire South recover from the pandemic and face a Tory-made cost of living crisis, yesterday the SNP Government’s spending review outlined record social security spending to help households facing increasing pressures. The Scottish Government allocated around £23 billion for social security over the course of the parliament.
The focus on supporting households under increasing pressure reflects the SNP’s commitment to create a fairer Scotland by tackling child poverty, reducing inequalities and supporting financial wellbeing in Renfrewshire South, and builds on current efforts to help families and mitigate Westminster welfare cuts.
The Resource Spending Review outlined over £23 billion worth of payments, with a total of almost £1.8 billion for the ‘game changing’ Scottish Child Payment alone. By 2026-27 the budget for Social Security Assistance will have increased by £6.3 billion.
This is despite the Scottish Budget for this year being cut in real terms by 5.2 per cent by the Tory UK government and the SNP government already spending almost £770 million on cost of living support, including several measures for families in Renfrewshire South not available elsewhere in the UK, such as:
- Doubling the ‘game changing’ Scottish Child Payment to £20 per child per week with plans to increase it to £25 and extend it to under 16s by the end of the year – reaching a possible 450,00 young people.
- Investing £86m to mitigate the Tory Government bedroom tax and benefit cap and support 90,00 people in their tenancies
- Uprating eight Scottish social security payments by 6 per cent
- A brand new Low-Income Winter Heating benefit that guarantees a £50 annual payment to over 400,000 low income households in winter 22/23
- The Carers Allowance Supplement which will support around 90,000 carers with an additional £450 a year
- Providing everyone in primaries one to five and over 140,000 eligible children and young people access to a free school lunch
- Making free bus travel available for nearly half of Scotland’s population through concessionary travel
Additionally, the Scottish Government is making investment in areas like energy efficiency to bring down costs and the spending review set out how SNP will build on these over the coming years.
Commenting, Tom Arthur, SNP MSP for Renfrewshire South said:
“I am very glad to see this record investment in social security by the SNP Government, putting such a strong focus on tackling child poverty and helping households in Renfrewshire South who are facing severe pressures right now which seems likely to only increase for the next while.
“Many families across Renfrewshire South are already benefitting from support like the Scottish Child payment, a £150 council tax reduction, the Scottish Welfare Fund and Discretionary Housing Payments which mitigate Westminster’s cruel bedroom tax.
“These are policies that built on the SNP’s current efforts. They will make a real difference to people’s lives and build on long standing measures that we benefit from every day – such as free prescriptions, free university tuition, free personal care, and 1,140 hours of free early learning and childcare which will continue to be maintained.
“When times are tough, Governments have to make tough decisions and I’m grateful the SNP continue to focus on what matters most to people but it is acting with one hand tied behind its back as Westminster continues to inflict its cruel austerity agenda at a time when people need support the most.
“Once again, it is clear that only with the full powers of independence that we can stop spending a fixed budget on protecting households against Tory cuts and start to properly build a fairer, more equal Scotland.”