Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson today hit back in the “rape clause” row, telling the SNP to use the powers it has Holyrood to offset the changes - or face claims of “gross hypocrisy”.
Ms Davidson has come under attack in recent days, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon branding the Scottish Tory leader a “disgrace” over her support for the policy introduced as the UK Government capped child tax credits support at two kids.
Parents can get support for a third youngster if conception came about as a result of rape - but the woman faces the burden of proving this herself by filling out an eight-page form.
A rally is to be staged in Glasgow to oppose the proposals.
Ms Davidson broke her silence on the issue today and said the Scottish Parliament had the power to create a new Scottish-only benefits, following the passage of the Scotland Act and called on the SNP and Scottish Labour to set out their position clearly.
“We support the exemptions which the UK Government has put in place on restrictions to child tax credits, and we want to see the UK Government implement them in the most compassionate way possible. That work is on-going,” Ms Davidson said
“The SNP has said it opposes the two-child policy on tax credits, so it now has a choice to make.
“At Holyrood, we now have the power to create new benefits. So the Scottish Government could, if it wanted, propose a new benefit to provide funding for families with more than two children.
“Of course this would have to be paid for, but if the SNP Government believes this to be of such importance, then it can act.
“However, if Nicola Sturgeon simply wants to use this to complain about the policies of the UK Government - and not act at Holyrood when she has the power to do so - then she leaves herself open to the charge of gross hypocrisy.”
It came as Labour leader Kezia Dugdale today wrote to Ms Davidson to challenge her to stand up to the “rape clause”.
Ms Dugdale’s letter states: “The rape clause should shame every single Tory MSP.
“Surely it is time to once again tell your colleagues in Westminster that you do not agree with them.
“There is cross-party support against this policy in Westminster and Holyrood. Why don’t you join with us and condemn this appalling act?”