Today (4th November 2015) the SNP at Westminster and Holyrood are taking strong action to protect households in Scotland from Tory tax credit cuts. The SNP have repeatedly spoken out against these damaging cuts, which will see low income households with children in Scotland losing around £3,000 per year when the cuts are fully implemented.
Our first priority is to stop these tax credit cuts completely.
The changes to tax credits are due to be introduced in April of next year – giving families little chance to prepare for such a loss to the income they depend on. £3,000 is the equivalent of more than a years’ worth of food and non-alcoholic drink shopping for the average Scottish household – putting a human cost on Tory cuts.
Under the Scotland Bill as it currently stands, the Scottish Parliament does not have the ability to restore all tax credits, and we don’t have the power to reimburse all of those who will be affected.
Simply put, under the current bill we cannot top up the benefits of people who would lose their eligibility for tax credits due to George Osborne’s changes.
At Holyrood, the SNP in Government have confirmed that we will bring forward credible and costed plans to support those on low incomes once the extent of Tory cuts become clear after the UK Government’s spending review, until then we will keep up the pressure on the UK Government to drop these cuts completely.
The SNP has welcomed today’s vote in the Scottish Parliament against Tory tax credit cuts and for the SNP’s plans to bring forward ‘sensible, credible and costed’ plans if the cuts go ahead.
In contrast to the SNP’s vote today, Labour failed to vote either to oppose the Tory cuts or support a Scottish Government plan for an alternative.
Commenting, SNP MSP Gil Paterson said,
“I am pleased that the Scottish Parliament has today voted against the callous Tory cuts to tax credits and for a costed Scottish Government plan to support families affected – just as we mitigated against the impact of the Bedroom Tax, the SNP will do everything in our power to support people hurt by tax credit cuts.
While our first priority is to stop tax credit cuts happening in the first place – unlike Labour, who appear to have run up the white flag – if these cuts do go ahead, the SNP in government will set out sensible, credible and costed proposals to support low-income households. The fact that Labour voted against this in Parliament today is indicative of a party that simply can’t be taken seriously – less concerned with mitigating these cuts and more concerned with cheap political attacks.
Of course, the Scottish Parliament should not find itself in the situation of simply having to find ways to mitigate these callous Tory cuts – we should have full powers over tax credits in Scotland’s hands, rather than in the hands of David Cameron and George Osborne.
The SNP has put forward a common-sense amendment to the Scotland Bill to devolve responsibility for tax credits in full – Labour now need to be clear on whether they will back us, or if they will again side with the Tories in denying these vital powers to Scotland.”
Continuing, Dumbarton SNP Holyrood Candidate Gail Robertson said,
“These cuts will have a damaging impact on our hard working low income families here in West Dunbartonshire and the first priority must be to stop these tax credit cuts happening in the first place. Unfortunately Labour appear to have already thrown in the towel, however if these cuts do go ahead, the SNP in government will set out sensible, credible and costed proposals to help hard pressed working families. Labour voted against these sensible proposals attempting to score cheap political points. Our hard pressed working families deserve better. It’s no wonder that Labour’s poll ratings are falling like a stone.
Again we find ourselves in the ridiculous position where Scotland pays the price twice, our families lose out on much need financial support, while our parliament has to again find the money to plug the gap from an ever decreasing budget from Westminster.
Martin Docherty MP Added,
“The SNP at Westminster have put forward amendments to the Scotland Bill to devolve in full, working tax credits and child tax credits – the simplest, easiest and most effective way of stopping these damaging Tory cuts.
We are calling on the Labour Party to support our amendment and vote with the SNP in the House of Commons to devolve all tax credits to Scotland.
By putting forward changes to the Scotland Bill to allow the Scottish Parliament to stop planned cuts to tax credits, and developing a credible, costed plan in Scotland to support those on low incomes, the SNP are demonstrating through action our commitment to protecting households from Tory tax credit cuts.”