SNP unveils welfare plans to counter tax credit cuts

The SNP Government is to introduce new welfare measures to support Scottish families worst hit by controversial tax credit cuts, it has been announced.

Alex Neil promised SNP would help poorer families. Picture: Julie Bull
Alex Neil promised SNP would help poorer families. Picture: Julie Bull

Social justice secretary Alex Neil said ministers are already working on the plans set out after the UK government’s spending review. Mr Neil made the announcement as MSPs prepare to debate the issue at Holyrood this afternoon. Labour leader Kezia Dugdale told her party’s conference at the weekend that she will use the new Smith Commission powers coming to Scotland to fully restore tax credit cuts. It is thought Chancellor George Osborne’s planned cuts could cost families up to £1,300 a year.

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“Holyrood should send a united message to George Osborne that these cuts are completely unacceptable,” Mr Neil said.

“Unlike Labour, the SNP have voted against these proposals at every possible opportunity and we will continue to do so. And just as we have already mitigated some of the worst aspects of the UK government’s welfare cuts, so too will the Scottish Government set out clear, credible and costed plans to support low income households following the Comprehensive Spending Review.”

He insisted that Holyrood will not get full control over tax credits under the Smith Commission plans and called for this to be ­fully devolved to the Scottish Parliament.