Welfare Reform Committee debate 1

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Welfare Reform Committee convener Michael McMahon said that some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland faced losing £7,000 a year as a result of UK government welfare reform.

A recent report for the committee from Sheffield Hallum University found that the welfare cuts would take more than £1.6bn a year out of the Scottish economy and hit the poorest parts hardest.

Mr McMahon said that as some people who lost Incapacity Benefit, no longer received Disability Living Allowance and did not qualify for its replacement the Personal Independence and were hit by the so-called "bedroom tax" could lose £7,000 which would beyond a financial loss but a loss of security in their lives.

He said the committee had met with witnesses in Glasgow that morning and one witness was in tears over the impact of the "bedroom tax" and had been reduced to eating nothing but toast for a week.

The Labour MSP again called for Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to show the Scottish Parliament respect and appear before the committee, which to date he had failed to do.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there was a "growing body of evidence of the dreadful and heart breaking impact" of the reforms.

Ms Sturgeon said reiterated the Scottish government claim that the true impact of the reforms would be hit with a cut of £4.5 billion in the five years to 2014-15.

Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone said other parties could no just oppose change to the welfare reform system as they had all agreed it needed reform.

Mr Johnstone said no one in the debate had suggested how they would reform welfare.

The second part of the debate can be viewed below:

Welfare Reform Committee debate 2

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