Blog: Budget opens questions on Scottish spending priorities

Blog: Budget opens questions on Scottish spending priorities

CIH Scotland is considering how the Scotland Bill can be used to reflect Scottish public spending priorities, writes Annie Mauger, director of CIH’s national business units.

We have known for some time that the UK Government planned to cut £12 billion from the welfare bill, on top of the £21 billion already cut over the course of the last Parliament. Many have speculated at how this seemingly impossible figure might be reached and what the impacts of this might be for the working age households who rely on benefits because of unemployment or, increasingly, as a result of low wages and high housing costs. Any remaining doubts were cast aside yesterday as the Chancellor laid out the details behind the figure.

While some of the more controversial measures such as the extension of Right to Buy, the reduction of social housing rents and ‘pay to stay’ will not apply north of the border, the Scottish housing sector and, importantly, tenants will not get off lightly. Freezing working age benefits, reducing the overall benefit cap to £20,000 and the removal of automatic entitlement to support with housing costs for our young people will have a significant impact on low income households and many of our most vulnerable citizens.

During his speech, George Osborne stated that public spending should be used to protect public priorities. We want to know what your priorities are. CIH Scotland is developing a response to the Scottish Parliament Welfare Reform Committee’s call for evidence on how new powers in the Scotland Bill can be used to improve the social security system in Scotland. We will be emailing a survey to members across Scotland this afternoon and I urge you to share your skills and experience with us. We need your help to shape the way that we support people in Scotland in the future.

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