Boris Johnson's Conservatives are hammering the poor with tax rises and benefit cuts. Will Scottish Tories back him? – Ian Murray MP

Boris Johnson's National Insurance rise and Universal Credit cut will hit tens of thousands of working families (Picture: House of Commons/PA)Boris Johnson's National Insurance rise and Universal Credit cut will hit tens of thousands of working families (Picture: House of Commons/PA)
Boris Johnson's National Insurance rise and Universal Credit cut will hit tens of thousands of working families (Picture: House of Commons/PA)
This was a week in which governments revealed where their real priorities lie.

In Edinburgh, Nicola Sturgeon took to her feet to launch a fresh drive for an unwanted referendum, rather than introduce bold plans to tackle child poverty in Scotland.

And at the same time, Boris Johnson was on his feet in London to unveil a double whammy of tax hikes and cuts to Universal Credit that will exacerbate child poverty.

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The real priorities for these two governments – and the wrong priorities.

Analysis from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found that around 150,000 working families in Scotland will pay, on average, nearly an extra £100 per year in tax under the Tories’ plan, while also suffering a £1,040 annual drop in their income due to the ending of the £20 uplift to Universal Credit.

A survey conducted by Citizens Advice Scotland also found that more than half of those in receipt of Universal Credit are worried about being able to afford food or other household shopping.

Scottish Conservative MPs were elected on a manifesto promise not to increase National Insurance during this parliament – a promise now broken by the Prime Minister.

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The National Insurance hike is a regressive tax plan that will punish young people, care workers, supermarket workers and nurses.

We should be asking those with the broadest shoulders to pay more and governments should be introducing comprehensive reforms plan for social care, not sticking plaster solutions.

Under the Prime Minister’s plan, social care will not improve, and people will still go without the care that they need. Those requiring long-term care will still have to sell their homes.

Unpaid family carers will still be pushed to breaking point and pay and conditions will not improve for employed care workers.

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So, the reality is that a poorly paid care worker will pay more tax for the care they are providing without a penny more in their pay packet or a secure contract.

The Tories have shown their true colours this week and are willing to place the burden on working people and businesses, rather than fix the social care crisis properly.

Coupled with that is their proposed Universal Credit cut.

We were supposed to be debating it this week but instead of exposing how the government will hammer the worst-off in the country, we were instead asked to... vote on a tax rise that will hammer working people in the country.

Research shows that one-in-three families will be hit by the end of the £20 uplift.

The Tories’ £1,000-a-year cut will be a devastating blow to millions of working families, in every part of the UK, hitting the lowest paid hardest and hurting our economic recovery.

Time is running out for the Conservatives to see sense, back struggling families and cancel their cut to Universal Credit.

Labour took millions of the working poor out of poverty. We would maintain the uplift until we can replace Universal Credit with a fairer social security system.

Our shared social security system is a vital underpinning of the strength of the UK, so when that votes comes, Scottish Tories will face a choice.

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Which side will they choose? Will they side with hard-working families across the country – or with Boris Johnson?

Ian Murray is Labour MP for Edinburgh South

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