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Families punished by cuts

Published: 25 Oct 2015 00:01

Alex Neil calls for UK Government proposals to be ditched.

The UK Government should urgently rethink tax credit changes which will punish families and push even more children into poverty, Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil has said.

In a letter to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mr Neil urged the UK Government to rethink its plans to cut tax credits which mean households with the least money will face the biggest losses.

Almost £700 million is expected to be axed from Scotland annually by the end of the Westminster parliament.

Tax credits were worth around £2 billion to Scottish households in 2013/14, with two thirds of support directed at low income working families.

Mr Neil said: "Cutting tax credits is a thoughtless approach which may save the Treasury money in the short term but will have heart-breaking long-term consequences that could rebound on other public and charitable services.

"Tax credits can be a lifeline for families on low incomes that rely on them to get through daily life, put food on the table, heat their home and pay their bills.

"Removing this vital support from thousands of families will widen the gap in inequalities and push even more people into poverty.

"The UK Government's plans are a clear attack on low income working families and those families must be protected as a matter of urgency.

"The Scottish Government has made clear its opposition to these changes and I urge the UK Government to reconsider the severity and timing of these changes and make changes before the Welfare and Work Bill reaches its next legislative stage, so that the poorest households in receipt of tax credits can be protected from this fall in their incomes.

"This shows why we need more social security powers through the Scotland Bill and why, we will ensure our approach to social security will be based on fairness and that people are treated with dignity and respect."