Ayrshire MP says unfair welfare reforms to blame for increase in child poverty

Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP Sandra Osborne has this week slammed the Westminster Government over its welfare reform policies which she says are seeing increasing levels of children living in poverty.

The MP said that the Child Poverty Action Group and the End Child Poverty Coalition have produced annual local estimates for child poverty rates.

These show the percentage of Children Living in Poverty in Ayr Carrick and Cumnock Constituency.

According to the figures, in Cumnock and New Cumnock 22% of children are living in poverty, in Doon Valley the figure is 27%; Ayr North, 33%; Ayr East, 18%; Ayr West, 12%; Maybole, North Carrick and Coylton, 15%; Girvan and South Carrick, 26%.

Sandra Osborne said: “These local figures are scandalous and are down to the Government’s cruel welfare reform policies including benefit cuts and sanctions and the introduction of the ill thought out bedroom tax.

“These measures are hitting the vulnerable hard and pushing even more people into poverty in this constituency.

“The introduction of Universal Credit - which will replace six benefits and will see claimants receive just one payment per month, in arrears, paid to only one family member - will see the situation getting much worse.’

“I am supporting the Child Poverty Action Group’s campaign People Like Us, which aims to remind us all that when we talk about benefit claimants we’re talking about real people, real families and real children.

“The Government, is happy to write off benefit claimants as ‘skivers’ but they are ordinary people who have perhaps found themselves out of work, or need their low pay topped up, or who have become disabled.

“I am meeting with the local authorities soon and will be seeking information on what measures they are putting in place to help to support the vulnerable in my constituency in light of these poverty figures.

In Westminster, I continue to fight against the Government’s unfair welfare reforms. Instead of focusing on ever more austerity measures, the Government should be concentrating on a plan for jobs and growth in order to get the economy moving again and to help lift people out of poverty.”