Richard Arkless MP has demanded that the Prime Minister apologise to the people of Dumfries and Galloway who have been ‘scared witless’ by the threat of cuts to disabled benefits following the Budget on 16th March.


Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Arkless also highlighted the differences between Dumfries and Galloway and the Prime Ministers own constituency of Whitney in Oxfordshire, saying:


“If you compare my constituency to the constituencies of the Prime Minister and the Chancellor you’ll find I have four times the numbers of youths unemployed, more than double the disabled claimant count and an average weekly wage of 20% less.”


Mr Arkless continued:


“Are these the reasons that the Prime Minister and the Chancellor never understood, never had the compassion to realise that the disabled cuts were so obviously wrong when everybody else did?


“And I’ll give him one further opportunity – will he apologise to my constituents who have been scared witless over the past week?”


The Prime Minister did not offer an apology and instead stated that ‘there remain challenges’ in Dumfries and Galloway.


Commenting, Mr Arkless said:


“It is clear that the Tory party is deeply divided on the issue of further welfare cuts with the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith following the Budget proving just how fragmented the party has become.


“Mr Cameron and the Chancellor seem oblivious to the distress that their antics have caused disabled people and those on low-incomes and even though they have withdraw the proposed cuts from the Budget, they have not acknowledged how much needless anxiety they have inflicted on the most vulnerable people in our society.


“Whilst I think business should be incentivised to invest in more jobs, it is appalling that cuts to Capital Gains tax and Corporation tax were going to be made at the same time as cuts to disability benefits – and for roughly the same amount.”


“Disabled people must not be made to pay the price of politically driven austerity.   The Tories need to rethink their whole approach to welfare reform, and abandon their ideological commitment to austerity cuts.”

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