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Final chance on tax credits

Published: 24 Nov 2015 00:01

Spending Review an opportunity to change 'potentially catastrophic' decisions - FM.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will use a major speech in Glasgow to urge the Chancellor to reverse "potentially catastrophic" changes to tax credits that will impact around 200,000 families with children in Scotland.

Delivering the annual Jimmy Reid Memorial Lecture in the Bute Hall at Glasgow University on Tuesday (24 November), the First Minister will say tax credit cuts are being directly targeted at working families on low incomes with children, hurting many of the people most in need of help.

The First Minister will evoke Jimmy Reid's world-famous rectorial address – delivered in the same venue in 1972 – by highlighting that the lack of consultation on the changes could "breed alienation" by ensuring that people have no say in shaping their own destinies.

The First Minister will say:

"Tomorrow, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will announce the results of the UK government's spending review. He has a chance – possibly a final chance - to change course on some potentially catastrophic decisions.

"For example, if all of the UK Government's proposed tax credit changes are implemented, around 200,000 families with children in Scotland stand to lose an average of approximately £3,000 a year.

"More than three quarters of the families who receive tax credits have at least one person who works. The cuts are directly targeted at working people on low incomes and their children. They hurt many of the people we most need to help.

"I call again tonight on the Chancellor to reverse his decision to cut tax credits when he has the opportunity to do so tomorrow.

"If he doesn't do so, the Scottish Government will set out proposals to protect the incomes of low paid families in our budget in December.

"Obviously, the substance of the Chancellor's proposals on tax credits is of greatest concern, but the process is deeply damaging too.

"There was no consultation before the Chancellor announced these cuts in June and no mention of them in the Conservative manifesto. The decision was taken behind closed doors and the full implications will be made clear to families in letters around Christmas time. This is something which is being done to people - to working families and their children - with no opportunity for meaningful debate or discussion.

"If you reflect on the opening of Jimmy Reid's rectorial address– its evocation of 'the despair and hopelessness that pervades people who feel with justification that they have no real say in shaping or determining their own destinies' – it's hard to avoid the conclusion that UK Government policy is not tackling alienation, but breeding it."


Notes to editors

The First Minister will deliver the annual Jimmy Reid Memorial Lecture in the Bute Hall in Glasgow University this evening (24 November 2015) at 1830. Media requests for access to the event should be made through Glasgow University media office

The event will be chaired by Grahame Smith, general secretary of the STUC and will be streamed live on the University of Glasgow's website – - and on its Twitter feed - @UofGlasgow – via Periscope.

The First Minister's lecture will be placed on the Scottish Government website as soon as possible after it has been delivered -