April 1st marks the day that many policy changes come into force, as a result of the Scottish budget passed by the SNP Government and the UK budget passed by the Tories. It also marks the day that tax hikes proposed by Labour and the Tories would have come into effect – but were blocked by the SNP.
Here’s what you need to know about the benefits that the SNP is delivering for households across Scotland, the support the UK Government is removing, and the tax hikes Labour and the Tories are intent on imposing.
The SNP is delivering a range of key benefits to help households.
On the first day of the new financial year, here are the policies being protected by the SNP’s 2016/17 budget, which Labour and the Tories voted against.
Free prescriptions, saving someone with a long term condition a minimum of £104 a year
Protecting free personal care for our older people, saving individuals an estimated £13,000 per year
Council tax freeze for the ninth successive year, saving the average Band D household £1550 since 2008
Basic rate of income tax frozen, protecting the low paid from Labour plans to increase taxes
Continuing the £30 a week Educational Maintenance Allowance for young people, benefitting over 50,000 young people
£52m of investment in the independent living fund – scrapped by the Tories in England, but offering vital support to disabled people in Scotland
- Higher Education based on the ability to learn not the ability to pay
The Tories and Labour want to hammer households with tax-hikes.
The Tories want to introduce hidden taxes on health and education. At the STV leaders debate earlier this week, Nicola Sturgeon forced Ruth Davidson to admit to her plans to put a £6,000 price-tag on university education and introduce an £8.40 charge for prescriptions, matching the price the Tories have introduced in England today.
Meanwhile, Labour plan to hit 2.2 million basic rate taxpayers, including 500,000 pensioners, with a tax rise – and have abandoned plans to provide a £100 rebate to low-earners.
In contrast, the SNP have frozen the basic rate of income tax for the coming year, preventing low income households being hit by Labour’s tax hike.
Meanwhile, the Tories in Westminster are cutting basic social security entitlements.
A number of changes to benefits made by the UK Government come into effect today, including a four-year freeze on working-age benefits and cuts to the ‘work allowance’ which will hit the incomes of those in receipt of Universal Credit. The work allowance is the amount an individual or their partner is able to earn before Universal Credit is affected. A cut in work allowance means less income for working families.
The SNP have pledged to take a different approach to social security if re-elected – putting fairness and dignity at the heart of welfare. Although too many powers that affect the low-paid, disabled people and the unemployed remain in the hands of the Tories, we will use the powers devolved through the Scotland Bill to take a distinct approach.
Here are some of the policies being protected by the SNP and the savings they’re providing households with. Share them with your friends and family.