Cabinet reshuffle ‘won’t help women’ says SNP

AN increase in female ministers in David Cameron’s Cabinet will not help women suffering as a result of Westminster welfare reforms, the SNP has said.

Britain's new Environment Secretary Liz Truss leaves Downing Street. Picture: Getty

Eilidh Whiteford, the party’s work and pensions spokeswoman, hit out at the Prime Minister as he was putting the finishing touches to a major Cabinet reshuffle ahead of next year’s general election.

Extensive changes saw a series of established figures culled in favour of women, with the highest-profile casualty Owen Paterson losing his environment brief to Liz Truss.

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Ms Whiteford said: “For four years, David Cameron’s Government has presided over cuts which have hit women the hardest.

“While it is always welcome to see progress made on equality, the appointment of more women to Cabinet does not compensate for the impact of his welfare reforms on women in Scotland. What is needed is action to help women in Scotland who are suffering 69% of the impact of unfair Tory welfare cuts.”

The SNP MP added: “The Scottish Government is doing what it can to mitigate the impact of welfare cuts, but with the full powers of independence we could do so much more. In an independent Scotland we cannot only build a welfare state that is a tool to tackle poverty and is a springboard to a better life - we can also take action to offer more opportunities for women. Our plans to transform childcare will help more parents - particularly women - back into work.

“We have also committed to ensuring women are not disadvantaged by the welfare system in the way the UK Government’s plans do.”

She noted that 40 per cent of the Scottish Cabinet are female, and argued: “We can’t allow Westminster to keep holding back progress on tackling inequality. Only a Yes vote will enable us to tackle inequality and poverty, and further empower women in the process.”