More Benefit Cuts Planned for Autumn Budget

The SNP has accused Jeremy Hunt of targeting the most vulnerable in society, after the UK Chancellor confirmed a crackdown on welfare payments and associated benefits ahead of the Autumn Budget. 

The proposal will see thousands of people cut off from accessing crucial benefits such as free prescription and dental treatment, as well as help from energy suppliers. UK government ministers have drawn up plans to cut billions of pounds from welfare spending by looking to force hundreds of thousands of people who suffer from physical and mental illnesses back to work. 

People who have a chronic illness, or are in severe pain whilst awaiting an operation, could be forced back to work before they are fit and able or risk having their benefits cut.

Mr Hunt’s plans have already been widely criticised, with James Taylor, Director of Strategy at the disability equality charity Scope, describing them as “all stick and no carrot”. “Where is the clear positive vision for disabled people and disability employment?”, he asked.

The charity Disability Rights UK have said the policy “is a deliberate attempt to save money by risking disabled people’s lives… more disabled people will be pushed into poverty, we will see more deaths and greater deterioration in health.”

The proposals have been labelled as ‘heartless’ by the SNP, who have warned that the policy will plunge chronically ill and disabled people into poverty. They have said it shows why Scotland needs full powers over welfare, employment and its economy to protect the most vulnerable and match independent European countries of comparable size that are wealthier and fairer than the UK.

Once again, a callous Tory UK Government has the poorest and most vulnerable in its sightlines for cruel cuts as they plan for their latest austerity-driven budget.

It is disgraceful, displays a total lack of moral empathy, and shows they have learned nothing from the total failure of austerity to date and the untold harm caused to individuals and to society at large.

This is a wholly rejected approach by a UK government that needs to go – but not just to be replaced by a Labour party that is increasingly on the same page on a whole host of damaging policies from austerity to Brexit.

In the meantime, the SNP Scottish Government is doing all it can within the limitations of devolution to prevent people falling into poverty – though free prescriptions, the Scottish Child Payment, a council tax freeze and so on – but without the full powers of independence it will always be doing so with one hand tied behind its back.


I’m Graeme’s Parliamentary Assistant based at Holyrood, but I support his constituency work as well. Having been Caseworker to an Aberdeenshire MP some years prior, joining Graeme's team in 2019 was a return to this line of work from a role in fundraising.

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