Winter Fuel Payments benefit 82,000 across Glasgow this Christmas

SNP MSP PRAISES NEWLY DEVOLVED WINTER WELFARE POLICY

This year, 82,510 of people in Glasgow have benefitted from Winter Fuel Payments, with some off-grid households– who face the highest heating costs in the country – benefitting from early payments.

Under the SNP, over one million people have received a winter fuel allowance as part of the new Social Security system in Scotland –which is worth a total of £3.3 billion.

A Winter Fuel Payment is an annual tax-free payment paid to older people during the winter months, as well as those on a variety of qualifying benefits.

While the Tories at Westminster recently planned to scrap Winter Fuel Payments for those living in England and Wales, the SNP has remained committed to delivering this important payment in Scotland.

SNP MSP Sandra White said:

“I am delighted to hear that 82,510 people across Glasgow are benefitting from generous winter fuel payments.

“With new powers over social security, the SNP is fighting for older people in Scotland and we’re committed to protecting the winter fuel allowance from Tory cuts.

“Everyone should be able to heat their home, and keep themselves and their family warm over the festive period. 

“By maintaining the winter fuel allowance, the SNP is committed to a society in which everybody is treated with dignity and respect –sadly not the concern of the Tories at Westminster.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

‘Tories back down on plans to scrap pension triple lock and means test winter fuel payment changes’ https://www.moneywise.co.uk/news/2017-06-26/tories-back-down-plans-to-scrap-pension-triple-lock-and-means-test-winter-fuel

Tory Austerity Drives Up Glasgow Food Bank Usage by 16%

An SNP MSP has encouraged members of the public to help those in need in their local community this Christmas – after it was revealed that over 230,000 Scots children are living in poverty.

Charities and trusts across the UK have warned that they are ‘preparing for the worst’ this Christmas, as the hardship caused by the six-week wait for Universal Credit payments comes into effect and those suffering under the new welfare system struggle to cope with Christmas costs. 

This year has seen foodbank use rise to its highest-ever recorded level – with figures showing a 15% increase in Scottish foodbank use since 2017. In Glasgow, foodbanks have seen a rise in use of 16%.

Commenting, SNP MSP Sandra White said:

“It’s important, as we enjoy Christmas, to remember those in need.

“Many of the issues people face year round, such as homelessness or food poverty, can be worse over winter as temperatures drop and families face pressure to meet added costs over Christmas.

“The rollout of Universal Credit, which has been devastatingfor families across Glasgow, has left many people worried about how they willcover the cost of Christmas. 

“Even a small donation or act of kindness can make a bigdifference to someone over Christmas.

“I’d encourage anyone who can afford it to make a donation to their local food bank or homeless shelter this Christmas – you never know how much it could mean to someone who is struggling to make ends meet.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Between 1st April 2018 and 30th September 2018, 658,048 three day emergency food supplies were provided to people in crisis by foodbanks in The Trussell Trust network. During this period, 87,981 three day emergency food supplies were provided to people in Scotland.

SCOTTISH BUDGET MEANS £76.7 MILLION BOOST FOR GLASGOW’S NHS

Health services in Glasgow will receive a £76.7m boost next year, the Scottish Government unveiled in the budget.

 

The inflation busting increase will see NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde funding increase 3.6% year on year.

 

The budget saw SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay increase total health and care funding by £729m, putting the future of the health service at the centre of the Scottish Government’s financial plan.

 

The Finance Secretary did however highlight the risk Brexit plays to this investment, with the potential for the Scottish Government to be forced to review the budget should the UK face a ‘No Deal’ scenario.

 

Commenting, SNP MSP Sandra White said:

 

“People across Glasgow Kelvin will welcome the significant investment in our local NHS services, with a real-term increase in spending.

 

“The SNP value our NHS and are determined to ensure it stays fit for the future.

 

“In contrast, the budget exposed the Tory proposals as completely hollow – with their plan to hand high earners a tax cut leaving a £1 billion hole in our public spending.

 

“Meanwhile, even Labour insiders have admitted that their plans are a ‘shambles’ with the party failing to cost their spending demands.

 

“The SNP budget delivers for our NHS in Glasgow.”

 

SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT UNITES AGAINST TORY BREXIT

SNP MSP SANDRA WHITE VOTES AGAINST DAMAGING BREXIT DEAL

 

The Scottish Parliament has overwhelmingly rejected Theresa May’s false choice of a bad Brexit or No Deal.

 

The joint motion agreed by the SNP, Labour, Greens and the Lib Dems stated that a better alternative must be found – leaving the Tories isolated in their support for Theresa May’s discredited proposals.

 

Commenting, local SNP MSP Sandra White said:

 

“Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, but our interests have been ignored by the UK government since day one.

 

“With the Scottish Parliament now overwhelmingly against the false choice of Theresa May’s ‘Deal or No Deal’, it is time for the UK government to listen.

 

“Theresa May’s deal is at this point little more than a hypothetical exercise, with all sides of the House of Commons determined to defeat it on Tuesday.

 

“The clock is ticking. It’s time for a new approach and to look at the real alternatives which will protect jobs and livelihoods throughout Scotland and here in Kelvin – whether that be a second referendum giving Scotland the opportunity to remain in the EU, or the compromise proposal of staying in the single-market that the Scottish Government unveiled two years ago.”

UNIVERSAL CREDIT CREATES CASH FLOW CRISIS AT CHRISTMAS

Claimants face lengthy wait for payment.

Anyone making a new claim for Universal Credit faces spending the festive season without money, Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said today.

The in-built wait of a minimum of five weeks before payment means that anyone making a claim this week will need to survive until January without money to which they are entitled.

Ms Somerville criticised the delay as she met with people receiving benefits on a visit to a Citizen’s Advice Scotland office in Leith –  the full service roll out of Universal Credit by the UK Government  began to be rolled out in Edinburgh last week.

Ms Somerville said:

“Christmas is a time of additional expense for most people but it’s particularly hard for families with little money to begin with.

“It is therefore unacceptable that anyone making a claim for Universal Credit from last week will not see their money until after Christmas. This is an appalling situation for many across Scotland and why we have repeatedly called for a halt to the roll out of Universal Credit.

“The minimum five week wait for a first payment is just one of the many problems with Universal Credit, the roll out of which has led to sharp rises in the use of food banks and rent arrears.

“While the DWP do offer advance payments, this needs to be paid back from future payments, locking families in to further debt at the start of a new year.

“The Scottish Government cannot change Universal Credit.  It’s a benefit delivered by the UK Government. However, we do have limited powers to make the delivery of Universal Credit better suited to the needs of people. Since last year, our Universal Credit Scottish choices have given people the choice to receive their Universal Credit award twice monthly and have the housing costs paid directly to their landlord.

“We are spending significant amounts to mitigate the worst effects of UK Government cuts and support those on low incomes – £125 million this year alone – £20 million more than last year.

“Previous calls for the roll out to be halted have been ignored and Universal Credit will be available in all areas before Christmas. The UK Government must now make the fundamental changes needed to make Universal Credit fit for purpose before the managed migration of people on legacy benefits begins next summer.”