“Rising child poverty is a scar on our society, and is projected to rise further, as new benefit cuts that could cost the hardest-hit single parents more than £6,000 by 2019, are set to come into force today.” (Satwat Rehman, Director of One Parent Families Scotland)
A number of UK Government changes come in to force today, 6th April, which will cut the benefits people in Scotland are entitled to. This comes at a time when more and more families in Orkney are struggling to meet their daily needs. Zero hours contracts, part-time low paid jobs, in work poverty, rising food and utility prices are causing increasing hardship in our islands.
The changes will see child tax credits capped at two children – meaning anyone with two children or more will no longer receive child tax credits at the birth of their next child or subsequent children, unless an exception applies.
This policy also affects those making a new claim to Universal Credit.
The Scottish Government announced today that the two child cap would not be implemented in Scotland’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme. This scheme reduces the council tax those on low incomes have to pay, with over 75% of recipients not having to pay any council tax at all.
Social Security Minister for the Scottish Government Jeane Freeman said:
“As the Scottish Government take steps to eradicate child poverty, we do so in the face of these cuts which will push even more families into poverty.”
“And while we relish the opportunity to take control over a portion of the benefits that will be devolved to Scotland, we still will not have the powers to stop these ideologically-driven cuts going ahead. Especially as our budget continues to reduce in real terms.”
“Where we do have control, such as over the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, we are refusing to follow this callous two child cap policy. I’ve announced today that the Scheme will not have a two child cap – we will not penalise people for having more than two children.”
“I’ve committed to putting dignity and respect at the heart of our new system and we recognise that it is our job to support people to get back on their feet, not make it more difficult.”
Other changes to be introduced on 6 April include:
- the premium payment for the first child will no longer be awarded for new births in families in receipt of child tax credits and new Universal Credit claimants.
- shortening the time that parents who are on Universal Credit can spend at home with their youngest child before having to look for work;
- reducing the amount of money people with work-limiting disabilities or health conditions who make a new claim to employment and Support Allowance and are placed in the work related activity group can receive.
- In addition, the entitlement to housing benefit for 18-21 year olds was changed on 1 April.
Satwat Rehman, Director of One Parent Families Scotland, said:
“Rising child poverty is a scar on our society, and is projected to rise further, as new benefit cuts that could cost the hardest-hit single parents more than £6,000 by 2019, are set to come into force today.”
“The changes will put a terrible burden on families across Scotland. It is Westminster government action – rather than merely inaction – that is actively driving down the life chances of single parents and their children.”
Reporter: Fiona Grahame
- See The Orkney News related stories on zero hours contracts and in work poverty
For more information and advice:
Orkney Citizens Advice
More detail on the welfare changes due to be introduced by the UK Government on can be found here: http://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/Benefit_Changes_April_2017