Yesterday the Department for Work and Pensions published an impact assessment for the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill, which states that about 30% of all households will be affected by the measures contained in the Bill.
I thank the Minister for that answer. Even after changes to tax allowances, a single-earner household with children in my constituency will be £534 a year worse off by April 2015. With that priority in mind, does the Minister still believe that the Government should go ahead with their priority of a £2,000 a week tax cut for millionaires?
What I believe is that the Government should continue to work to sort out the mess in the economy that the hon. Gentleman’s Labour Government left behind. The measures announced yesterday will save £5 billion and he and his colleagues have not given any answers as to where they would find such savings if they did not implement those changes.
One in five working families in Scotland who rely on tax credits will see a cut in their real income as a result of these changes. Many of them rely on low-paid, temporary and part-time jobs when, in fact, they want permanent, full-time jobs. What steps will the Minister take in 2013 to tackle the scourge of under-employment in Scotland?
The Secretary of State will work with the Scottish Government and stakeholders in Scotland to set up an employability forum, which will look at the two Governments and all interested parties in Scotland working together to ensure that we get more people into full-time employment.
I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend. The benefits issue is an example of where, simply to curry favour with the electorate, the SNP Scottish Government are making promises that they could not possibly keep in an independent Scotland.
Last night’s vote was about ensuring that we have a sustainable welfare system. The hon. Lady’s answer on all these issues is more borrowing, more spending and more debt. She cannot say how she would fund the rises in benefit for which she voted.
What a disappointing answer. The answer is 4,000 members of the armed forces. There might be a Liberal Democrat leading the Scotland Office, but Scots can see that this Government are just the same old Tories. In 2010, the Department told us that it had absolutely no desire to see people losing their jobs or being in worse circumstances than they were in before. Will the Minister explain why the Government are failing the test that they set themselves?
What the people of Scotland know is that it is the same old Labour: there is no apology for the mess that it left the economy in and its only proposal is more spending, more borrowing and more debt.
No, not number 5. The hon. Gentleman must be patient. I am coming to him. I am saving him up. He is worth saving.
It will come as no surprise to the Minister to learn that I opposed the cap on in-work benefits last night because it will hammer thousands of families in Scotland who are trying to bring up children while working hard in low-paid jobs. However, does he share my surprise that some senior MPs, including members of the last Labour Government, who left his Government with an almighty mess in the public finances, did not even turn up to vote last night?