Listen to our Policy & Parliamentary Officer Ashley McLean being interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland about the Emergency Budget Review statement on 3 Nov.
Reacting to today’s statement by the Deputy First Minister, Poverty Alliance Director Peter Kelly said: “The Scottish Government’s Emergency Budget Review highlights the challenges faced in public spending at this time. John Swinney committed to direct resources to those most in need. So we’re pleased that the Scottish Government has confirmed its support for measures to double the Child Payment bridging payments, and to use Discretionary Housing Payments to mitigate the unjust Benefit Cap. Increases to the Fuel Insecurity Fund will help social landlords provide more help to those who need it.
“However, we know that that cuts in public services almost always affect the people living on low incomes the most. It is hard to see then how the reductions in Health and Social care will not impact on people on low incomes. The decision to not increase Community Links and Mental Health Worker numbers will certainly hit those on low incomes. Similarly, reductions in spending on mental health is likely to affect people living in low-income communities.
“These are clearly difficult decisions for the Scottish Government, and we would expect them to closely monitor the equalities impacts of the decisions that have been announced today. People on low incomes cannot be expected to pay the price in their health and wellbeing for the economic crisis we are in.
“That crisis has been exacerbated by the actions of the UK Government in recent months. It was also good to hear the Cabinet Secretary back our calls on the new Prime Minister and Chancellor to raise benefits in line with inflation. The spotlight now moves to Westminster, where we need to see compassion and justice reflected in the Autumn Statement – as the PM promised when he took office.”