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Murphy issues £1bn cuts warning

Published 08/04/2015

Jim Murphy claimed that planned Tory austerity cuts would be worse than the past five years
Jim Murphy claimed that planned Tory austerity cuts would be worse than the past five years

The Conservatives are planning to cut more money from Scotland's welfare budget than it currently spends on disability benefit, according to Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy.

The Tories plan to cut £1 billion a year from Scottish benefits and they only spent £935 million on disability benefit in 2012/13, he said ahead of a campaign trip to Aberdeen.

Labour's alternative would involve scrapping the "bedroom tax", overhauling the Work Capability Assessment and tackling the backlog in Personal Independence Payments.

Mr Murphy will visit youth homelessness and unemployment charity Aberdeen Foyer today ahead of tonight's televised BBC election debate broadcast from the city's Elphinstone Hall.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Murphy said: "We have had five years of brutal Tory austerity - but the reality is we have not seen the worst of their plans yet.

"They are planning deeper cuts in the next three years than the last five.

"The Tories want to cut £12 billion from welfare after the election.

"That's £1 billion from Scottish people - more than all the disability benefits paid in Scotland.

"We can't let the Tories carry out this plan that would inflict misery on our poor, our vulnerable and our sick.

"Labour will make different choices. We need a Labour government that will abolish targets for welfare sanctions and axe the bedroom tax.

"We will use new devolved powers to give disabled people the support they need to get back to work.

"At this election, only Labour is big enough and strong enough to get rid of the Tories."

Scottish Conservative welfare reform spokesman Alex Johnstone said: "Considering Labour are the party which created the chaotic welfare free-for-all, they are hardly in a position of credibility now.

"We had to take tough decisions on welfare and we did.

"The best form of welfare is work - something Scottish Labour would do well to recognise.

"And the more people who get back to work, the more money there is left to help those who genuinely need support because they are unable to work."

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