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POLITICIANS’ VISIT TO PERTHSHIRE WOMEN’S AID FOCUSES ON REFUGE PROVISION, IMPACT OF WELFARE REFORMS & RAPE CLAUSE

Roseanna with Pete Wishart MP and Women's Aid workers

Local parliamentarians Mr Pete Wishart MP, Member of Parliament for Perth & North Perthshire, and Ms Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Member of the Scottish Parliament for Perthshire South & Kinross-shire, paid a visit to Perthshire Women's Aid where they talked about the threat to refuge provision across the UK, the impact on vulnerable women of welfare reforms, the two-child tax credit cap on families and the rape clause that accompanies it.
 

Commenting on the meeting, Mr Wishart said:
 
“I am really grateful to the folk from Perthshire Women’s Aid for taking the time to meet with us.  It was a truly thought-provoking meeting as we discussed some of the key issues facing the organisation and the women that they help.
 
“Perthshire Women’s Aid, like Women’s Aid groups across the country, do an immense amount of really important work for and on behalf of those experiencing domestic abuse.  We should all be very thankful for the work that they do and listen carefully when they have concerns about what effect changes to Government policy might have on the people for whom they act as such determined advocates..
 
“Unsurprisingly, the obscene Tory rape clause and the two-child tax credit cap on families featured prominently in our conversations and I will continue to work alongside my colleagues to do everything we can to have that repugnant piece of legislation repealed.”
 
 Ms Joan Maclean, Manager of Perthshire Women’s Aid, continued:
 
“We were really pleased to welcome Pete and Roseanna to Perthshire Women’s Aid.  We had a really useful conversation and it was an important opportunity for us to highlight some of the key issues of public policy which affect women experiencing domestic abuse.  We are encouraged that the current debate on the two-child policy will focus attention on the unequal impact welfare reform is having on women.  Women’s economic independence is undermined by endemic domestic abuse and further amplified by austerity cuts and welfare reform.  We urge our local and national politicians to highlight the damage of continual cuts and fight to make positive improvements when systems are being reformed,  such as automatic individual payments of Universal Credit with entitlements relating to children allocated to the main carer, the next change, yet to hit Perthshire.
 
“We, other charities and kind donors are propping up the social security system and at a time when other vital services to us, like mental health services are being hit.  We need political and community support to help change the tone of the welfare reform debate from a punitive one to one of compassion and care.  Our women and children did not choose this, nor do they wish to be part of the system.  Our refuge provision and funding for our frontline services are under threat and we are grateful for Pete and Roseanna’s support to women and children at time of crisis and need.”
 
Ms Cunningham added:
 
“It really was a very sobering meeting as we heard details of the dreadful impact the welfare reforms being introduced by the Tories in Westminster are having on women who have experienced domestic abuse.
 
“Plans by the UK Government to change housing benefits for supported accommodation would have represented cuts of nearly £4 million to Women’s Aid groups and would have seen refuges across Scotland close.
 
“Thankfully, those plans have been put on hold until 2019, after a great deal of intensive campaigning.  But there still needs to be a firm commitment to a sustainable and permanent funding solution that will ensure that refuges, like those operated by Perthshire Women’s Aid across Perthshire, can continue to provide essential services for women and children experiencing domestic abuse.”

Roseanna Cunningham MSP, 63 Glasgow Road, Perth PH2 0PE  •  01738 620540   •   Website designed & hosted by Craig Mackay Design