‘Rape Clause’ is low by even Tories’ stan­dards

East Kilbride News - - LINDA FABIANI - Linda Fabi­ani

My last col­umn for the News out­lined the sup­port that the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment will give to those who are sick or dis­abled in their search for work.

This fol­lowed the trans­fer of new pow­ers over em­ploy­ment sup­port to our par­lia­ment in Scot­land.

And this also fol­lowed the cut by the West­min­ster gov­ern­ment of £30 a week to Em­ploy­ment Sup­port Al­lowance with no sup­port pack­age to help dis­abled peo­ple meet the ad­di­tional costs of dis­abil­ity.

A par­tic­u­larly aw­ful mea­sure, even for the Tory gov­ern­ment and their abysmal record of so­cial se­cu­rity cuts, which es­pe­cially im­pact on some of the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in our so­ci­ety.

Fair­ness, dig­nity and re­spect should surely be at the heart of any sup­port poli­cies.

How­ever, in­stead of help­ing peo­ple with a dis­abil­ity to live in­de­pen­dently, the Tory cut risks putting in­di­vid­u­als in real dan­ger of hard­ship.

Fam­i­lies, too, have been put in dan­ger of fur­ther hard­ship – on April 6 the UK Gov­ern­ment introduced the two-child limit to child tax cred­its.

This largely pe­nalises fam­i­lies who are al­ready in work, so has very lit­tle to do with re­duc­ing the wel­fare bill.

It’s no more than an ide­o­log­i­cal at­tack on the low­est-earn­ing fam­i­lies.

The Child Poverty Ac­tion Group es­ti­mates that this pol­icy, which can mean a loss of up to £2800 from a fam­ily’s bud­get, will tip 200,000 chil­dren over the edge from ‘just about man­ag­ing’ into poverty by 2020.

Strange, but I seem to have a mem­ory of the Prime Min­is­ter stat­ing that these were the fam­i­lies she wished to help.

Then, just when you think the low­est point has been reached, along comes the ‘Rape Clause’.

If you can prove to so­cial work­ers and health pro­fes­sion­als that your third or sub­se­quent child was con­ceived as a re­sult of rape, you’ll get an ex­emp­tion. Yes, it is a fact. A woman will be de­nied tax cred­its for a third or sub­se­quent child un­less they can prove they have been raped.

This Tory gov­ern­ment at West­min­ster has stooped to a new low, even by their stan­dards.

My Glas­gow MP col­league Ali­son Thewliss has been lead­ing the SNP fight against this pol­icy since it was first put for­ward at West­min­ster.

As well as be­ing hor­ri­fied that women are be­ing put in this po­si­tion, it tran­spires that no guid­ance has been is­sued; that there are no de­tails about how this will be as­sessed, or what train­ing the as­ses­sors will have.

A House of Lords com­mit­tee agrees that the UK Gov­ern­ment’s han­dling of this is “un­help­ful” and “in this case, we think it par­tic­u­larly in­ap­pro­pri­ate”.

In­ap­pro­pri­ate in­deed, as well as shame­ful, vile and bar­baric.

The leader of the Con­ser­va­tive Party in Scot­land is, how­ever, seek­ing to de­fend the in­de­fen­si­ble.

She’s de­cided that the way to deal with this in Scot­land is for the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to mit­i­gate yet more Tory cuts!

Ruth David­son fails to men­tion that peo­ple in Scot­land al­ready pay our taxes to the UK Gov­ern­ment for a so­cial se­cu­rity sys­tem that should be fair and there when we need it.

She fails to men­tion that the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has spent nearly £400 mil­lion since 2013 in an ef­fort to al­le­vi­ate Tory cuts to house­hold in­comes.

Ms David­son fails to men­tion that West­min­ster has been sys­tem­at­i­cally cut­ting the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s dis­cre­tionary bud­get – in­de­pen­dent re­search shows a nine per cent real terms re­duc­tion by 2019-20.

It takes a spe­cial kind of twisted logic for the Tory leader in Scot­land to call for the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to pro­tect fam­i­lies from the vin­dic­tive poli­cies of her own Gov­ern­ment in West­min­ster.

A strange and des­per­ate stance from a party leader who con­sis­tently ex­tols the virtues of be­ing ‘bet­ter to­gether’.

As with cuts to the in­come of those with dis­abil­ity, the im­po­si­tion of the bed­room tax, hous­ing ben­e­fit cuts, this lat­est ab­hor­rent pol­icy from the Tory gov­ern­ment in West­min­ster makes it quite clear that they think they can do what­ever they want to vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple and get away with it.

The ‘Rape Clause’ con­firms that they have aban­doned all sem­blance of any moral com­pass.

MSP for East Kilbride

Twisted logic Scot­tish Tory leader Ruth David­son

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