Scots say no to Tory tax credit cuts


​As peers are set to challenge plans to cut tax credits, a poll finds a lack of public support for the move 

26th October 2015 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Two-thirds of Scots say current plans to cut tax credits should be scrapped, a new poll says.

The survey of British adults by YouGov on behalf of campaigning group 38 Degrees found that 66% of Scots say George Osborne’s plans to cut tax credits should not go ahead in their current form.

The Conservative government wants to cut tax credits to save £4.5bn a year from 2016, arguing that most working families will still be better off by 2017, as a result of the introduction of the National Living Wage and changes to income tax thresholds.

But the hugely controversial move is set to be opposed by peers in the House of Lords who will today (26 October) vote on a rarely-used "fatal motion" tabled by the Lib Dems which would scrap the proposed changes entirely.

Alongside this campaigners and opposition MPs are pushing for concessions by ramping up pressure on the government.

More than 207,000 people have signed a 38 Degrees petition asking the Lords to block the cuts to tax credits. 

The cruelest cut

Pauline Henderson from Edinburgh will be affected by the cuts. She said: “Tax credits make my money up to at least a full time wage. 

"I can't work any more than my 18 hours because of child care, as I’m a single parent to a boy with a disability. 

"My work don't give you school hours or decent hours, they want you working nights. 

“The cuts are bad for me as I will lose over £100 a month and will only get £3.60 extra a week when the minimum wage is raised by 20p an hour.”

The poll showed that 30% of Scots backed abolishing the cuts completely while one in seven say they’d be worse off if the changes are implemented.

A further 57% of people in Scotland say they think that David Cameron has broken a pre-election promise by cutting tax credits, compared to just 17% who don’t. 

The survey of 1,625 British adults, of which 164 were from Scotland, was conducted on Thursday and Friday last week.

The survey shows that cuts to tax credits have damaged the Westminster government’s reputation in Scotland.

Nearly one in five Scots surveyed (18%) said they think more negatively of the Conservative government because of cuts to tax credits, with an additional 52% saying they already felt negatively about the UK government. 

Rebecca Falcon, campaigns manager at 38 Degrees, says: “This poll shows that tax credit cuts are turning into a political disaster for the UK government.

"Before the election Cameron promised not to cut tax credits, then went back on his word – and for more than half of Scots, that broken promise has not gone unnoticed. 

“If these cuts go ahead, thousands of Scottish families on low pay will be worse off each month. More than 100,000 people have already joined the campaign to stop the cuts, and two in three Scots want the UK government to u-turn now.

"The UK government is on the wrong side of public opinion.

“Cameron says his is the party of working people. If he breaks his promise, how will he be able to look working families who lose out in the eye?” 

Single parent charity Gingerbread has also today said working single parent families will be the group hardest hit by plans to cut tax credits, losing on average £1,300 a year.

Chief executive Fiona Weir said: “A staggering 1.3 million single parents will be worse off as a result of the budget. Single parents are hit harder than other families with low paid single parents hit worst of all.

 “We are urging the government to pause the reforms while their full impact is properly considered, in particular what they mean for many working families relying on tax credits to make ends meet.  

“Plans as they stand risk making some of the poorest in our society worse off, while also undermining the government’s goal of making work pay.”

Over the past week alone, members of the public have sent over 75,000 emails to their MPs on the issue, and made over 2,000 phone calls to MP’s offices as part of the 38 Degrees campaign to protect tax credits.