MORE than 100,000 disabled Scots are expected to lose out on benefits under looming cuts to the UK welfare system, a report by Scottish Government has found.
Individuals are set to lose at least £1,120 per year, with the changes meaning some or all of their UK disability benefits will go by by 2018.
The cuts have been branded “horrifying” by Nicola Sturgeon who pledged to halt the changes if Scots vote Yes in next month’s referendum.
The losses come about as a result of UK Government rule changes to the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for working-age disabled individuals, which is being replaced with the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Ms Sturgeon said: “It is simply wrong that so many disabled people in Scotland are set to lose so much money as a result of these UK Government changes.
“I am particularly concerned that the redrawn mobility rules will mean that almost 50,000 people will lose entitlement to up to £3,000 per annum. These are truly horrifying cuts in support for disabled people.
“This analysis of the UK Government’s welfare changes underlines the pressing need for a Scottish welfare system that has, at its heart, the clear principles of fairness and dignity.
“Following a vote for independence, we will halt the abolition of DLA in Scotland and its replacement by PIP.”
The changes will hit 50,000 disabled people who receive the enhanced rate mobility payment who will lose between £1,820 and £2,964 annually.
Anyone who can walk aided, or unaided, more than 20 metres will no longer be entitled to the enhanced weekly mobility allowance. Previously, a distance of 50 metres was used as a measure of mobility impairment.
The replacement of DLA with PIP is expected to reduce total UK disability benefit expenditure in Scotland by around £310 million per annum by 2017-18.
Ms Sturgeon added: “With the powers we have at present, this government is doing all we can to mitigate against the harmful effects of Westminster welfare reforms.
“The only way to stop these unfair policies is with the powers of independence and having policies that protect disabled people rather than punish them.”