"Tax credits reprieve a stay of execution, but wider cuts to family support still set to drive up child poverty” - campaigners respond to UK spending review

November 25, 2015

Responding to the Chancellor’s Spending Review statement John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said;

"The Chancellor has half-solved the problem his summer budget created for low paid working families. His decision to drop the latest tax credit cuts is very welcome and will be a huge relief to struggling parents but, as the Treasury’s own costings reveal, significant cuts to universal credit mean that in reality this a stay of execution rather than a full reprieve.

It was always wrong to cut support for working families in tax credits and it’s still wrong to cut help for these same families in the new universal credit that is replacing tax credits. Wider benefit and wider tax credits cuts are still going to slash family incomes and drive up child poverty.

Spending reviews are about setting out the Government’s priorities. After the Prime Minister’s party conference pledge to mount an assault on poverty we are hugely disappointed that apart from the U-turn on tax credits there is very little evidence that the government is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to fighting poverty.

Today has also highlighted the absurdity of having a welfare cap in the first place. Unless the Government addresses the drivers of poverty - including sky-high housing and childcare costs and low pay, it will continue to be at risk of breaching its own welfare cap. We need to tackle the long term drivers of benefit spending – such as low pay and high housing costs – rather than rationing decency by cutting benefits”.

Ends

For further comment contact:

John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland, on 07795 340 618 or 0141 552 3656