Labour’s plans to continue with the Tories’ child benefit cap could cost a family in Dundee with three children up to £2,000 and a total of up to £20 million could be lost to more than 16,300 families in the city – showing why decisions on welfare should be made in Scotland rather than at Westminster.
Dundee East MP Stewart Hosie responded to new analysis from SPICe which 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 cumulatively over the period 2011/12 - 2016/17.
Stewart said: “In Dundee, Labour’s plans will affect 16,330 families and 8,925 families with one child will lose out on a total of nearly £8 million, 5,400 families with two children will lose nearly £8 million while families of three children in the city could be hit to the tune of nearly £3 million.
“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.
“In stark contrast to Westminster’s attitude to welfare, the Scottish Government has argued that all benefits should rise in line with inflation.
“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.”
Comment from Jim McGovern MP
Speaking in regard to the comments made by Stewart Hosie MP on the Child Benefit Cap, Jim McGovern MP said:
“The SNP couldn’t be trusted to do their sums properly during the independence campaign when they offered no solid financial plans and there is little reason to trust them again, particularly when there are campaigns for both the leadership and deputy leadership of the SNP with candidates trying to build their profiles by attacking Labour in any way they can.
“Three years of lost growth at the start of this Parliament as a result of damaging Tory and Lib Dem policies means that the next government would have less money to spend and would have to take tough but necessary decisions. However to ease the burden on working families, Labour has a clear plan unlike the SNP and would reduce ministerial pay by 5%, implement a ‘mansion tax’ on properties over £2m, reintroduce the 50p top rate of income tax for those earning more than £150,000 and freeze energy bills until 2017.”