Westminster posturing on EU sees Scotland miss out on support for most vulnerable

Double blow as UK Government denies funding to those hit hardest by cuts

Scotland will miss out on EU funding to help support our most vulnerable people as a result of needless opposition from the Westminster Government.

At a time when Westminster is inflicting cuts that are hitting the poorest hardest across Scotland, the UK Government’s posturing at EU level has led them to oppose vital funding to provide those in need with food, clothing and other essentials.

Westminster’s opposition to European funding through the Food Distribution Programme means the UK will only receive 3.5m EUR for 2014-2020. This is in comparison to the 500m EUR set to be allocated to Spain, and 443m EUR to France.

The funding allocations were agreed today in a vote at the European Parliament.

Commenting, SNP MEP Alyn Smith said:

“At a time when we are seeing increasing numbers of people in Scotland and the UK being forced to use food banks at the hands of a Westminster government we didn’t even vote for, the UK Government’s refusal to support vital help is an absolute disgrace. Supporting the funding would have cost nothing, but once again we see the needs of the country's poorest set aside due to internal Tory squabbles over the EU.

"Funding through the Food Distribution Programme provides vital help to people in poverty across Europe. As a result of Westminster cuts to welfare, there has been a 170% rise in foodbank use across Scotland between 2012 and 2013. Westminster’s baffling decision to oppose this EU support is an insult to those already suffering as a result of Tory/Lib Dem efforts to dismantle the welfare state.

“We cannot continue to be represented in Europe by a Westminster government that threatens to rip us out of the EU and actively lobbies to move funds away from our most deprived citizens – we must be able to stand up for Scotland’s interests.

“Polling across Scotland has consistently shown that people want substantially more powers for Scotland, with the latest Scottish Social Attitudes Survey making clear that 63% of people want Scotland to have full control of tax and welfare. Only a Yes vote can ensure that we can provide greater support for our vulnerable by having control over these policy areas, as well as our own voice around the EU top table.”