Bute has been hit harder than almost any other area in the Highlands and Islands as a result of the UK government’s welfare reforms, according to research commissioned by a Scottish Parliament committee.
The study, undertaken by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University, estimates that £580 a year for every adult of working age will be removed from the local economy as a result of the reforms.
Its assessment of the impact of welfare reform in every local authority ward in Scotland concludes that across the Highlands and Islands only central Inverness, with a figure of £590, will be affected more severely than Bute.
The figures refer to the effect of the Westminster government’s changes to a range of benefits, such as housing benefit, incapacity benefit, disability living allowance, tax credits and the freeze in child benefit.
Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell said: “Firstly these figures show that Bute, almost more than any other part of the Highlands, needs to vote Yes in September. “Continuing Westminster cuts are hitting many areas hard but the poorest areas are suffering most. We have to make sure that welfare is not run by millionaire Tories in London, propped up - disgracefully I have to say - by Argyll & Bute’s Liberal MP, but by the Scottish Parliament working for the benefit of all those who need help in our country.
“A No vote will condemn Bute, Argyll and Scotland to ever more decline.”
The Argyll and Bute ward breakdown is as follows: Isle of Bute £580; Dunoon £560; Cowal £510; South Kintyre £490; Helensburgh Central £440; Kintyre and the Islands £440; Oban South and the Isles £400; Mid Argyll £380; Helensburgh and Lomond South £330; Oban North and Lorn £330; Lomond North £310.
Most of the worst affected wards are in the urban west of Scotland; worst of all is the Calton ward in Glasgow, where the figure is £880, while 11 of the 20 worst-hit wards are within the Glasgow City Council area.