Women at greater risk of poverty: report

Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP.
Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP.

Women are at greater risk of deeper and sustained poverty because of the UK government’s welfare reform, according to a new publication from a group of Scottish organisations.

The report published by Engender Scotland, Close the Gap, Scottish Women’s Aid, Scottish Women’s Convention, Zero Tolerance and Scottish Refugee Council said cuts to welfare spending create further barriers to women’s full participation in society, including within their communities and in political spaces.

The report also stated that where women’s disposable income is reduced, spending on children decreases leading to higher levels of child poverty.

£14.9 billion worth of cuts have been made to benefits, tax credits, pay and pensions since 2010 -74% of which has been taken from women’s incomes.

Commenting, Banff and Buchan MP and SNP spokesperson for Work and Pensions Dr Eilidh Whiteford said: “This is a damning report on the UK Government’s welfare reform.

“The UK Government have had a woeful record over the last four years when it comes to women. The welfare state is being dismantled by Westminster, and women are being the hardest hit.

“It is only with the financial powers of an independent Scotland that we can deliver the policies the SNP are pledged to - such as transforming childcare, building up to 1,140 hours for all children from age one to primary school, which will help more women into the workplace. We will be able to increase the minimum wage by at least the cost of living every year, and reverse the welfare reforms that hit women the hardest - particularly the plan to pay benefits to the household instead of directly to second earners, most of whom are women. These are just some of the things we can, should and must achieve with a Yes vote. Women have the most to gain from independence.”