Plans to reduce tax credits, as announced in the Budget, are a great mistake and will have a major impact on the poorest households.
In the vast majority of cases, these benefits are going to households who have already borne much of the burden of the austerity programme. And around half the people in poverty in Scotland live in working households, a worse situation than in the UK as a whole, with tax credits going some way to alleviate this.
While more than 500,000 children in Scotland benefit from tax credits, seven in ten Scottish households who receive them are working households, with 90 per cent of expenditure on tax credits going to households with an income of less than £20,000.
It is estimated that a 10 per cent cut in child tax credit will cost Scottish families £150 million a year, while a 10 per cent cut in all tax credits would leave households £250m worse off.
The UK Government cut in tax credits will hit Scotland’s poorest children and families hard, a frightening indication of the potential impact of the proposed £12 billion in welfare cuts.
The Prime Minister, in reply to the Speaker’s request for “order”, replied: “I have all day, Mr Speaker. There is not much on today, Mr Speaker.”
This disrespectful comment on the very day thousands were plunged into poverty by the scathing cuts to welfare benefits announced in the Budget merely highlights the reality of a Conservative government which includes many millionaires in the front – and for that matter the back benches – who have never experienced hardship.
Those very MPs had the gall to applaud the announcement of a £9-an-hour living wage for the over-25s by 2020. It is an amount that begs the question: what will it be worth in 2020, five years from now? How degrading.
Catriona C Clark