Just as it has provided the funds for local authorities to compensate families including those with disabled children for the costs of the bedroom tax, so the Scottish government has provided considerable funds to protect the worst-off against the effects of recent benefit ‘changes.’
The Scottish Welfare Fund comprises Community Care Grants and Crisis Grants. £140 million has been paid in crisis grants, since April 2013, to 265 000 households placed in extreme hardship, unable to pay for food or heating costs, by the UK government’s punitive welfare cuts and chaotic implementation of Universal Credit. 14% of the requests were due to delays in these benefits. Between April and June this year alone, there were more than 42 000 applications, up 11% on the previous year.
In addition, Community Care grants were paid in nearly 16 000 cases, to local authorities, to cover the costs of, mainly, floor coverings, white goods and furniture.
33% of all cases involved families with children.
The above news is merely the latest account of efforts by the Scottish Government to protect Scotland’s poor from the excesses of Tory austerity. See this from 2016:
The job of protecting Scottish poor from excesses of Tory austerity
Yes, the Holyrood Government prove again and again their excellence at damage limitation. I must admit to impatience for our escape from the Anglo-Norman yoke that’s the source of all the problems. SNP ingenuity can only go so far – limiting but not eradicating the problems in the absence of independence
And, with a fixed block grant and limited tax raising powers and borrowing facilities, increasing austerity will put pressure on the Scottish Government’s overall budget forcing squeezes and cuts elsewhere. This,as it was cynically intended to do, will open lines of attack on the Scottish Government by the unionist parties: NHS CRISIS!, Education down the tubes, etc.
Councils have some scope to raise Council tax, but some, run by unionist coalitions will avoid this so that they can attack Holyrood.
For the longer term, the government has to look at land reform and the switching of taxation to land and away from income. Will Labour and the LibDems stand by their ‘principles’ relating to land reform and local empowerment? The Colonel’s line of attack is already pretty clear and the BBC phone-in this morning gave them a platform to attack any ‘tax raises’.
The abolition of ‘income-tax’ which is an extension of slavery, is a good starting point in the present discussion. After that, the task is to identify the sources from which the common purse can be filled. Land is obviously a good start but rentier income needs to be identified and taxed as well.
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How can you listen to it? Tuff
Yes, sadly true
Sadly true was for your first comment.
Hi John – Hi all. Good Lord – lots of political stuff going off all at once – The Tory Govt ‘crisis’ couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people could it?
I understand that the London press suddenly remembered that Fallon was a ‘Scottish MP’ (born in Perth) when they were reporting his disgrace and resignation. I imagine they’ll suddenly remember that Crabb is Inverness-born when he gets handed the glove too.
The Colonel must have been soooo desperate to get handed the Westminster Defence portfolio. Like Alasdair I caught her performance on Beeb radio 4 this morning (I was in loud traffic – but i think it was Nick Robinson doing the free puff interview). She had, apparently, been awarded some ‘Politician of the year’ prize last night (Spectator magazine?) and went into positively Churchillian mode when asked about Fallon’s resignation. Robinson actually had the gall to ask her opinion “..as someone who has served in the armed forces…” (Cripes – I never realised that a wee whiley as a signaller/runner in the weekend warriors gave one quite such a global grasp of matters military – there’s me telt).
Interestingly she has a few wee difficulties developing in the Angus Council. This has a tory/Independent/lib administration following May 2017 elections. However – there seems to be a bit of strife in the ranks and 2 of the Independent councillors have withdrawn from the administration (the Depute Council Leader David Fairweather included). He rapidly realised he was dealing with clowns (see below from Courier):
He said the u-turn on the closure of the Monifieth dump suggested the current administration “has fallen at the first hurdle and lacks the ability to agree decisions”.
“On the face of it, this is good news for Monifieth,” said Mr Fairweather.
“In reality however, it illustrates a knee jerk decision-making process, which has further drained already dwindling cash reserves, and that focuses on short term populism at the expense of competent leadership and fiscal prudence.”
Meanwhie Councillor David Cheape resigned from the ruling group and suggested the council administration overly reflected the interests of the “retired and wealthy”.
So the Colonel has a rebellion to pacify – hopefully the tanks won’t be employed with ‘terminal force’ just yet?
Our collective suspicions about Big Eck’s involvement with the Norwegian entrepreneur Christen Ager Hanssen’s campaign to rescue Johnston Press (JP) from the group of Executive bandits who have captured the company and appear to be gorging themselves mightily on the remains of the business have been proven correct.
The CEO Ashley Highfield (ex beep by the way) was clearly able to call upon all his beeb experience recently when he tried to banish all hope from the remaining JP staff by suggesting the Alex Salmond story reports were “untruths” and “completely unfounded”.
Mr. Ager Hansenn’s plan is to install Alex as Chairman of the whole JP group. That would be fun! – here’s hoping and let’s keep a close eye on developments. (NOTE: The plan is to dispose of the London HQ and bring the HQ back to Scotland).
Thanks as always M Thierry, mon ami
“The Tory Govt ‘crisis’ couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people could it?”
The question occurs – Are they ‘Compassionate Conservatives’ or ‘Touchy Tories’?
OK, sorry, but I couldn’t resist.
Hi all – William and Alasdair above were discussing Land Tax and whether lab and libs will remember their alleged support for this option.I noticed a few days back on the beeb Wales site that the Welsh Govt (comprising Welsh Lab – and the sole remaining lib AM) have put 4 tax options forward for consideration (the Welsh Assembly is due to regain some small tax raising powers in a bit) – and have included a Vacant Land Tax among the options : (see below):
Under the plans, one of four taxes will be put forward to the UK government, Parliament and the assembly for approval.
A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: “The idea for a vacant land tax was one of four to be shortlisted for further work after the finance secretary asked the public for ideas to test the Wales Act 2014 mechanism for proposing new taxes.
“We will develop and refine all four ideas further over the coming months, working closely with stakeholders.”
A “vacant land tax” could be used to address the issue of “land-banking” – where developers and house builders speculatively accumulate plots.
It is one of four tax ideas being considered by ministers in Cardiff.
The Welsh Government said it will develop the ideas in the coming months.
Quite why the beeb report felt it necessary to tell the same information twice in a short piece I really don’t know – at least the beeb Wales site offers bits of fairly neutral coverage of the Welsh Govt and Assembly – how unlike the homelife of our own dear beeb Jockland?
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Hi William – ‘Touchy Tories’ is it? – and most of them possible fairly ‘touched’ in the heid as well?
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Hi William et al – talking of tories who are a bit ‘touched in the heid’ did anyone notice this piece on ‘Lord’ Sanderson (of Bowfing) who used to be a junior Minister at the Scottish Office decades ago/ – he’s still living high off the public hog but seems to have difficulty with the concept/meaning of the words ‘voluntary’, ‘volunteer’ and ‘volunteering’ (see below):
A Conservative party peer from the Borders has defended his £12,279 expenses claim over the past parliamentary year, saying he has volunteered his services many times in his career. Lord Sanderson of Bowden is one of 17 lords slammed by the Electoral Reform Society for claiming more than £10,000 despite failing to speak in any debate, submit written questions or sit on a committee. The 84-year-old did vote on 25 occasions –each time voting “not content” on the various bills put before the house. He told the Southern this week: “As a volunteer, I served my party since 1965 in many jobs including chairman of the main committee of the UK party and chairman of the Scottish Party, all voluntarily.”
He added: “I think you should realise that some people at their own expense give their talents for free and you would do well to study what is involved over the whole period of service before drawing conclusions.”
Darren Hughes, chief exexecutive of the Electoral Reform Society – an independent campaigning organisation working to champion the rights of voters – said “This is no fit state for the Mother of all Parliaments. Voters are sick of scandal after scandal – ones which stem from a total lack of accountability.”
Lord Sanderson – who is a board member of the Hawick Cashmere Company and the Abbotsford Trust, having chaired both organisations for several years – said that while he had been an extremely active member of the House of Lords in the past, he was thinking about standing down. He told us: “I live in Scotland, am now 84, and have played a full part in the past on front and back benches. “I am considering whether to retire in the near future and you can expect to see me out within a short time.”
So – having gouged the long-suffering taxpayer for decades this prominent tory is – finally – being shamed into contemplating ‘retirement’ from the Lords – May the Laird be thankit – It is a long, slow road to the new and better Scotland – but we celebrate each small victory as we go.
Thanks once more for these, Ludo
Here’s a link to an article about one aspect of life where the Scottish government is doing things differently to England – and winning all round.
and another article that probably affects the results above: