Only a Yes vote can protect the NHS against impact of privatisation and cuts agenda

LAST Wednesday the Scottish Parliament debated the damaging and destructive impact of the UK Government's welfare changes.

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As a Glasgow MSP I am contacted regularly by constituents who are being very negatively affected by the changes to benefits introduced by the Westminster Government - including the bedroom tax, cuts to Child Benefit and cuts to Working Tax Credits to name just a few issues.

This debate came on the same day that new data from the Scottish Government was published, which found that the introduction of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) will result in benefit cuts for thousands - with over 100,000 disabled people, many of them living in Glasgow, set to lose at least £1120 per year.

Currently, disabled people in Scotland receive Disability Living Allowance, but this is being replaced by Personal Independence Payments - leading to a cut of over £300million from the total disability benefit spending in Scotland.

This change will mean thousands of disabled adults who rely on Disability Living Allowance will lose some or all of their disability benefits, robbing them of the valuable support they rely on in order to live independent lives.

During last week's debate, the Deputy First Minister and Glasgow MSP Nicola Sturgeon made it clear once again that with independence, the current Scottish Government will halt the abolition of Disability Living Allowance, as well as halting the roll-out of universal credit.

It was an absolute disgrace to see Labour MSPs voting against the Scottish Government and with the Tories at Holyrood on the issue of Welfare.

It goes without saying that Labour and the SNP obviously disagree on Independence; however, to side with the UK Government on welfare is simply unforgivable.

These cuts come from the UK Government in Westminster, but Labour MSPs should be ashamed that they are so blinded by their opposition to an independent Scotland that they have forgotten about the people they are supposed to represent.

Only a Yes vote in September will give Scotland the full powers of independence to halt these hugely damaging UK Government cuts, and deliver dignity to everyone in Scotland, regardless of their needs and abilities.

Last week the people of Scotland also received confirmation that the NHS will be safe in the hands of the Scottish Government, but that only a Yes vote can protect the NHS against the impact of the privatisation and cuts agenda of the Westminster Government.

Privatisation has crept into the NHS in England, and this has a direct consequence on our budget allocation in Scotland.

The Scottish Government has proposed that in an independent Scotland, the right to free healthcare would be included in the written constitution drafted up by a constitutional convention.

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