Labour’s plans to continue with the Tories’ child benefit cap could cost families in Dumfries and Galloway and across Scotland as much as £2000 – showing why decisions on welfare should be made in Scotland rather than at Westminster.
New analysis from the Scottish parliament shows that under Labour’s plans to extend the Tory child benefit cap for an additional year, a family with one child will cumulatively lose out on more than £875, a family with two children will lose almost £1500 and a family with three children will lose over £2,000.
Almost 16’000 families and 23’000 children under the age of 16 will be affected across Dumfries and Galloway.
This is just the latest example of Labour’s attempt to go further than the Tories on welfare – following on from Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves claiming that a Labour government would be ‘tougher than the Tories’ on benefits.
Labour’s support for the child benefit cap comes despite the fact that when the Scottish Parliament debated the Tory cuts to child benefit in January 2013, the Labour amendment to the Scottish Government motion would not have removed the line that “cuts to child benefit will directly impact on the wellbeing of children across Scotland”.
In stark contrast to Westminster’s attitude to welfare, the Scottish Government has argued that all benefits should rise in line with inflation.
Commenting, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said:
“Tory welfare reforms are causing hardship for families across Scotland – it is absolutely unacceptable that Labour are now looking to extend these unfair policies and to continue with the Tory austerity agenda.
“Labour’s plans to extend the child benefit cap will impact the wellbeing of children and hit ordinary families in the pocket – families with three children will suffer a cumulative loss of over £2,000 by 2016/17. At a time when many families are already struggling to make ends meet, taking more money out of family budgets is absolutely unthinkable.
“The Westminster parties’ race to the right shows exactly why Scotland needs full powers over welfare to be transferred from Westminster – so we can use our welfare state to support people and as a springboard to a better life, rather than as a tool to punish some of our most vulnerable people.
“Labour’s rhetoric on welfare is now almost indistinguishable from the Tories – in fact, they have already promised to be ‘tougher than the Tories’ on welfare, which is a chilling insight into the further cuts Labour have in store.
“With policies like this designed to win over voters the South East of England, it’s absolutely no wonder that more and more people in traditional Labour heartlands like Glasgow and Lanarkshire are switching to the SNP in their droves.”