The most vulnerable in society pay for government failure

AS Glasgow got into the Christmas spirit and the season of goodwill, George Osborne stood up in front of MPs and told the country in his budget statement that his plan for Britain's economy was working, Britain's economy was back on course.

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The fact he did this with a straight face is testament to how out of touch this Government is.

Higher borrowing, higher debt, higher unemploy-ment and longer, deeper spending cuts are, sadly, their measures of success.

Because no matter how you look at it, David Cameron and George Osborne's economic policies are simply not working; the benefit bill is up, tax revenues are down and borrowing will rise this year. In their rush to cut public spending they have strangled the economy and caused more harm than good.

The economy is shrinking and, by the Government's own figures, growth is set to be lower in each of the next four years than Osborne predicted, with the Chancellor set to borrow an additional £212billion than he claimed only two years ago.

Before the Autumn Statement I called on the Government to support household budgets and boost the economy, implement a plan that will deal with the deficit and does not seek to balance our country's books on the backs of the poorest.

Instead, George Osborne decided that it is families, pensioners and the most vulnerable in our society who are to pay for his economic failure.

The Chancellor claims his programme of Welfare Reform will reward work.

Yet under his plan more than half of the cuts will hit families in work the hardest.

Working families who rely on tax credits or child benefit in order to make ends meet are the ones who will lose out most. And last week I saw the impact of Government cuts.

I visited a foodbank in my constituency.

The fact that I even have to write about foodbanks is an appalling position to be in, the fact that foodbanks even exist evidence of just how wrong this Government is getting it.

In the past six weeks eight new foodbanks have opened across the country with more than 20 now in existence across Scotland.

Under this Government's policies the only growth industry appears to be the supply of emergency food parcels.

Every foodbank tells the tale of individual tragedies, of people and families living on the breadline. And such has been the extent of the Government's attack, more and more families where someone is in work are having to receive food parcels.

Cuts in hours, rising fuel costs, increased food costs are all stretching household budgets to the limits. This cannot go on.

It is time the UK and Scottish Governments recognised the desperate situation rapidly increasing numbers of people are finding themselves in and took emergency action to address the need for emergency food parcels.

Local government

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