Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Lamont Must Use Cuts Commission Debate to Clarify 'Something for Nothing' Claim


Johann Lamont must use today’s debate on the Labour Cuts Commission to explain exactly who she believes is ‘getting something for nothing’, having refused to clarify the remarks in the week following her controversial speech.

Repeatedly questioned on Good Morning Scotland on Tuesday (2 October), Johann Lamont refused to identify who she believed was ‘getting something for nothing’ and failed to reveal whether she was comfortable with the fact that the Tories agreed with her statements. She also confirmed her support for introducing means testing for many universal policies, stating: “I think what we need to do is identify need”.

Until they were abolished last year by the SNP, 600,000 people across Scotland with an income of less than £16,000 were charged for their prescriptions when they became ill, an estimated 8,900 of whom were in Johann Lamont’s own constituency of Glasgow Pollok.

Last week Johann Lamont repeatedly attacked the principle of free prescriptions during the launch of her Cuts Commission, although others in her party have challenged her leadership by voicing doubts over her stance on the issue.

Commenting, SNP MSP Aileen McLeod said:

“Many one-time Labour voters will have been shocked by Johann Lamont’s adoption of Tory dogma when she says that people are ‘getting something for nothing’.

“What is even more bizarre though is that now she will not even say who it is that she thinks is ‘getting something for nothing’.

“Is it the estimated 8,900 people in her own constituency who earn less than £16,000, but until last year had to pay prescription charges when they got ill?

“Johann Lamont may be fond of ducking difficult questions, but she cannot credibly make an outrageous attack of this nature without revealing who it is she thinks is not contributing to Scotland’s social contract.

“When she is being praised to the heavens by the Tories in Scotland and even the Tories in Wales, you would hope she might realise just how badly thought through her Cuts Commission is.

“Instead of Johann Lamont striving to become a poster-girl for the Tories by unpicking the social contract that binds Scotland together, she should be standing up for the thousands of people in her own constituency and across the country that the SNP is assisting in these difficult times.”
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