[Originally published in the3towns.today - October 5 2014]
Plans to cap Child Benefit, announced at the national conferences of both the Tory and Labour parties, could see thousands of local families lose as much as £2,000.
The shocking figure has been revealed by Cunninghame South SNP MSP Margaret Burgess who is also the Scottish Government Minister for Housing & Welfare.
Mrs Burgess said, “New research 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 more than £875; a family with two children will lose almost £1,500; and a family with three children will lose over £2,000.
“This will affect 8,690 local families and over 14,000 children in Cunninghame South alone.”
The Cunninghame South constituency includes Stevenston, Irvine and Kilwinning.
Margaret Burgess said, “This is just the latest example of Labour’s attempt to go further than the Tories on welfare - it follows Labour shadow minister Rachel Reeves claiming that a Labour Government would be ‘tougher than the Tories’ on benefits.
“Tory welfare reforms are causing hardship for families in North Ayrshire and across Scotland. It is absolutely unacceptable that Labour are now looking to extend these unfair policies and to continue with the Tory austerity agenda.”
The SNP Scottish Government argues that all benefits should rise in line with inflation and should be administered by the Scottish Parliament rather than Westminster.
The local SNP MSP noted, “At a time when many families are already struggling to make ends meet, taking more money out of family budgets is absolutely unthinkable.
“Labour’s rhetoric on welfare is almost indistinguishable from the Tories – we now have the Red Tories and the Blue Tories.
“With policies like this, designed to win-over voters in the South East of England, it’s no wonder that people in Labour’s traditional Scottish heartlands are switching to the SNP in their droves.
““The Westminster parties’ race to the right shows exactly why Scotland needs full powers over welfare to be transferred from Westminster. With these powers in Scotland, 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 citizens.”