Local MSP Jackie Baillie joined Scottish Labour activists to campaign to save tax credits on the streets of Dumbarton on Saturday.
Campaigners all across Scotland held street stalls and delivered leaflets (attached) calling on George Osborne to scrap his plan to cut the tax credits of working families. Up to 350,000 families in Scotland receive tax credits, including 4600 families in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Dumbarton.
Scottish Labour has also said that if George Osborne does not scrap his plan the Scottish Parliament must act by using the new powers heading to Holyrood to protect working families.
In her Scottish Labour Conference speech Kezia Dugdale set out a plan to restore the money lost through George Osborne’s tax credit cuts for working families in Scotland. This would be funded by making different choices on tax from the SNP and Tory Governments. Scottish Labour would not implement the SNP’s planned £250 million cut to Air Passenger Duty and would not implement the Tory Government’s planned increase in the threshold for those paying the higher rate of income tax.
The Scotland Bill devolves major new tax and welfare powers to the Scottish Parliament – including the power to restore any money lost to working families through George Osborne’s planned cuts to tax credits. Now that both the Scottish and UK Governments agree the new powers can be used for tax credits, Scottish Labour has said that technical discussions should begin now on achieving this, in advance of the Scottish budget.
“George Osborne’s plan to cut the tax credits of working families across the country is just wrong, and Scottish Labour took to the streets of Dumbarton over the weekend to campaign against this. We need to rally as much public support behind this campaign as possible.
“Tax credits work. It’s why the last UK Labour Government introduced them, lifting so many working families out of poverty and giving them a chance to get on in life. George Osborne must scrap his plan, but if he doesn’t then the Scottish Parliament should act.
“Politics is all about choices. How a government chooses to spend its budget determines its priorities. The SNP Government want to use the new powers on a £250 million plan to make airline tickets a bit cheaper. John Swinney has said he can’t yet find the money to help working families, but he can guarantee £250 million to cut the price of an airline ticket. Scottish Labour think that’s not the right priority, so we would use that funding instead to restore the money lost through tax credit cuts to working families. We will fight George Osborne’s planned cuts all the way, but if he does not see sense then Scottish Labour will act to protect working families.
“The SNP have been all over the place on tax credits. First they told us the Scottish Parliament wouldn’t have the power to act and in any event it would be too expensive to help working families. Then they admitted that wasn’t true but wouldn’t tell us whether working families would be entitled to the same support as they are now. It’s about time they stopped the grievance and started governing for a fairer Scotland.” <