Wednesday, 9 January 2013

SNP Criticise Darling for Failing to Vote Against Westminster Cuts


The Scottish National Party criticised Edinburgh South West MP Alistair Darling – chairman of the No campaign – for failing to be at Westminster last night to vote against the benefits cuts imposed by the UK Government on hard-working families and the poorest people in society.

Mr Darling is on a tour of Scotland this week as part of the No campaign - yesterday he was in Aberdeen, and today he is due in Inverness. The Commons debate was yesterday afternoon, and the votes took place from 7pm.

In a choice branded a “sick joke” by the SNP Depute Leader and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, instead of doing the full-time job he is funded by the taxpayer to do and being at Westminster to oppose these cuts, Mr Darling preferred to be in the North East of Scotland supporting the Westminster system of government in Scotland and scaremongering about independence.

The SNP had a full turn out of its six MPs to vote against the coalition’s cuts.

Ms Sturgeon said:

“This was a huge blunder by Alistair Darling, and one that will haunt the No campaign right through to referendum day.

“It is a sick joke that instead of doing his job and voting against Westminster imposing cuts that will hit working families in Scotland and the poorest in society hard, Mr Darling preferred to scaremonger against an independent Scotland and support a Westminster system that is doing such damage.

“Last night was a key moment in the debate about Scotland’s future. And in this one act, Alistair Darling laid bare everything that the people of Scotland need to know about the No campaign – when push comes to shove, they stand shoulder to shoulder with the Tories in the right of Westminster to impose cruel cuts on Scotland, instead of standing up for Scotland against the Tories.

"The proposals by the Tory/Lib Dem coalition are inherently regressive. Taken in the context of other changes to the tax and benefit system, the distributional analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that they hit the incomes of the lowest five deciles, with the biggest impact on the poorest three. And the analysis by Citizens Advice shows that a household with two adults in full time work on or around minimum wage, with two children and rent of £130 a week, lose out.

“Single parent families, and single earner families in low paid work are even more badly affected. And Resolution Foundation estimates that as much as 60 per cent of the budget savings will come from people in low paid work.

“Alasdair Darling had a choice on Tuesday – he could either have gone to Westminster to do his job and oppose unfair Tory cuts, or come to Scotland and support Westminster’s power to make these cuts.

“He chose the latter – and in so doing did enormous damage to the credibility of the No campaign.

“As the Welfare Commission established by the Scottish Government demonstrates, we can and will build a fairer welfare system in an independent Scotland – which is why a Yes vote in next year’s referendum is so important for the families and people of Scotland.”
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