Scottish Conservative party conference: David Cameron insists brutal welfare cuts are fair and compassionate
THE Tory leader says he is “proud” of the reforms as he speaks to the party faithful at their get-together in Stirling.
DAVID Cameron yesterday insisted he is “proud” of his brutal cuts to benefits.
The Prime Minister made a defence of the Con-Dems’ welfare reforms a key part of his speech to the Scottish Tory conference in Stirling.
In recent months, the Daily Record has exposed how cuts like the bedroom tax have forced some of Scotland’s poorest people to go without necessities like food and clothing.
But addressing the party faithful in the city’s Albert Halls, Cameron insisted they were “fair” and “compassionate”.
He claimed the welfare bill had become “unsustainable” and led to those out of work doing better than those in employment.
And he claimed the cuts are not just about saving money.
“It’s not about cold accountancy,” he said. “In fact for us, it’s about the very opposite of treating people as numbers: but remembering that those numbers are people.
“Compassion isn’t measured by the size of the benefits you pay out or how angrily you defend the status quo.
“No – it’s about helping people get back on their feet if they possibly can. Because in this party, we know the value of work.
“The purpose it gives you, the dignity it brings, the satisfaction of that pay cheque at the end of the month.”
His comments were blasted by campaigners against the cuts to social security.
John Downie, of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, said Cameron’s claims on welfare were simply untrue.
“Anyone who has seen the reality of these cuts knows the effect they are having on people.
“These reforms are totally failing to help people back into work and are doing great damage.”
SNP MP Angus Robertson said:
“He added insult to injury by pretending Tory policies are compassionate.
“People on the receiving end know that they are cruel and callous. The Tories stand for welfare cuts for vulnerable people and hard-working families – and tax cuts for millionaires.”
Cameron also pledged that the UK Government would stick to their damaging austerity agenda.
He blasted Labour for running up the deficit and said the Tories would continue to slash public spending.
“To paraphrase that great Scottish economist Adam Smith – ordinary expense ought to be equivalent to ordinary revenue,” he said. “But this isn’t just about the figures. It’s about what we feel in our hearts too. We should not leave these debts to our children.”
The PM also repeated his message that Scotland was better off facing the future as part of the UK.
“Living standards in Scotland are the highest anywhere outside London and the south-east,” he said.
“A great nation with great industries, oil and gas, financial services in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen and, of course, let’s not forget Scotch whisky.
“And we’re backing these industries every step of the way.”
Cameron attacked Alex Salmond’s plan to keep the pound after independence and said defence jobs and the banking industry would be put at risk by a Yes vote in the referendum.
And he joked about former chancellor Alistair Darling attending the conference today as leader of the pro-UK Better Together campaign.
“When one of your conference Darlings is a Labour MP, you know you’re on to something,”
The comment is likely to embarrass Labour, who fear some supporters are uncomfortable at campaigning with the Tories.