Today 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.
And so today 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.
The UK Government has finally agreed to proposals to allow Scotland to create our own benefits – but without full power over tax credits we won’t be able to stop Tory cuts.
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.
We will also continue our actions to mitigate some of the worst aspects of the UK Government’s welfare cuts, such as the bedroom tax.
By putting forward changes to the Scotland Bill to allow the Scottish Parliament to stop planned cuts to tax credits, and a commitment to a credible, costed plan in Scotland to support those on low incomes, the SNP are committed to protecting households from Tory tax credit cuts.
We welcome yesterday’s Tory U-turn, after nearly a year of pressure, which saw them table an amendment allowing the Scottish Government to introduce new social security benefits.
Photograph by Tristan Martin