Tories must come clean on benefit freeze
Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary, Ian Murray MP, calls on the Scotland Office to conduct a full assessment of how Scottish families will be affected by changes to tax credits and working age benefits.
David Mundell’s pretence that yesterday’s budget was anything less than an ideological attempt to dismantle the essential support given to working families is shameful. It’s time for the Tory government to come clean.
I’ve written to the Secretary of State today.
Rt. Hon. David Mundell MP
Secretary of State for Scotland
9th July 2015
The Budget announced by the Chancellor yesterday contained a raft of measures that will affect Scotland.
While there are some that Labour welcomes – including the additional support for the oil and gas industry and the action to tackle tax avoidance – the impact of the proposed freeze in working age benefits, including tax credits, represents a devastating blow for families across Scotland.
Hundreds of thousands of families in Scotland rely on tax credits. Despite changes to the minimum wage, the Resolution Foundation has estimated that a low earning dual-earner couple with two children could be more than £800 a year worse off under your Government’s plans.
The full extent of the effect of the Government’s proposals must be made public. As such, as a matter of urgency, the Scotland Office should publish a full assessment of how many families in Scotland will lose out, and by how much, because of the decision to freeze working age benefits, particularly tax credits.
Further, it is now more important than ever that the powers over welfare promised in the Smith Commission are passed, in full, to the Scottish Parliament. The Government’s continued insistence to retain the veto power over welfare changes and the reservation of housing benefit must be addressed in amendments to the Scotland Bill. These are issues I pressed you on during the committee stage of the Scotland Bill in the House of Commons. Yesterday’s budget demonstrates even more strongly the case I made.
I look forward to your reply.
Ian Murray MP