FRONT-LINE ORGANISATIONS HIGHLIGHT IMPACT OF TORY CUTS ON POOR AND YOUNG PEOPLE
The SNP is today highlighting the range of criticism of George Osborne’s budget from Civic Scotland as the third sector unites in condemnation of the measures – and condemned the ‘extreme’ cuts to support for young people.
Major third-sector organisations across Scotland including the STUC, Shelter Scotland, the Child Poverty Action Group, the SFHA and Citizens Advice Scotland have highlighted the serious regressive measures contained in the Budget – which will worsen child poverty, make it harder to escape the poverty trap and implements social security cuts which “have the potential to be just as damaging as the ‘bedroom tax’.”
The impact of the Tory budget on young people in particular has been highlighted today, with Shelter Scotland saying that the decision to axe housing benefit for people under the age of 21 “completely removes the safety net” in place to protect vulnerable young people.
Commenting, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said:
“George Osborne’s budget has already fallen apart at the seams at the first sign of scrutiny with the IFS highlighting that the measures will only increase the burden on people who are already struggling – so it’s no wonder that Civic Scotland is united in condemnation of these appalling plans.
“The impact on young people will be particularly severe, with housing benefit axed for people under the age of 21 – a move which the SFHA says has the potential to have an even worse impact than the Bedroom Tax.
“The fact that front line organisations which see first-hand the impact of the Tory assault on the working poor and young people in communities across Scotland are united in condemnation of this Budget should make the Chancellor sit up and take notice – but unfortunately we know that his commitment to cuts is based on pure right-wing ideology rather than on evidence.
“The poorest people in society have paid the price for the Tory obsession with austerity for far too long – it’s time for these powers to be in Scotland’s hands rather than Westminster’s, to allow a new approach with growth and fairness at its heart, rather than remaining wedded to the Tories’ failed, ideological commitment to cuts.”
Notes to editors
IFS: “increase in min wage simply cannot provide full compensation for majority of losses that will be experienced by tax credit recipients”
Paul Johnson @theifs: “Unequivocally, tax credit recipients in work will be made worse off by the measures in the Budget on average.”
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland:
“This is a shameful decision which is unjustified and cruel. It completely removes the safety net that is in place to protect young people whose circumstances often prevent them from staying in or returning to the family home… we have a duty to support young people.”
Graeme Smith, General Secretary of the STUC:
“The Chancellors so-called National Living Wage, pitched at £7.20 next year, will be nothing of the kind and is simply a cheap gimmick aimed at undermining the successful work we have undertaken to promote a meaningful Living Wage that genuinely helps people out of in work poverty.”
Alison Garnham, CEO, Child Poverty Action Group:
“The welcome move on higher minimum wage cannot disguise the truth: this Budget that damages the economic security of working families, and takes us further down the road to being a two-nation economy, with higher child poverty for millions and lower taxes for the better off.”
Susan McPhee, Head of Policy, Citizens Advice Scotland:
“We are very concerned about the impact these cuts will have on the poorest and most vulnerable Scots – many of whom have already been hit hard by the previous welfare reforms. Once again it looks like the burden is falling on those who are least able to cope. We of course welcome the move to a living wage economy, but it looks like for most people this will not be enough to off-set the impact of the wider cuts. We note too that the projected minimum wage rise to £7.20 next year still falls short of the Scottish living wage which is currently £7.85.”
Mary Taylor, Chief Executive, SFHA:
“Freezing working age benefits for four years and restricting tax credits and Universal Credit to two children, affecting those born after April 2017, will only serve to make it harder to escape the poverty trap.”
“The Federation is wholeheartedly against removing the automatic entitlement to Housing Benefit for 18 to 21-year-olds as it will have an adverse affect on the life chances and employment prospects of 28,000 plus claimants in this group, over half of whom have young families of their own (4), as it could, for many, place their homes at risk.
“Such cuts have the potential to be just as damaging as the ‘bedroom tax’.”