Impact of provisions of section 5 on child poverty and equality

Part of Finance (No. 3) Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:30 pm on 8th January 2019.

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Photo of Kirsty Blackman Kirsty Blackman Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Economy), SNP Deputy Leader 4:30 pm, 8th January 2019

We have not had taxation powers for 10 years, and we do not have the full range of powers. For example, we do not have the full range of powers over public health, so we do not have in Scotland powers such as the public health taxation measures—the sugar tax—that were brought forward in the previous Budget. We do not have the full range of powers, and if Scotland were to be an independent country, with the full range of powers, we would be putting the things we are discussing today at the heart of our Government’s agenda. Our Government have done this and we will continue to do this—we are pushing for fairness.

I will wrap up, because I am aware that I am relatively short of time, but I want to talk about the people who are the poorest and, by the way, the most disadvantaged by the way in which this society is set up. Following the changes to universal credit, those in the bottom 30% of incomes will gain less from the work allowance than they will lose in the benefit freeze. The benefit freeze is costing them more than the changes to the work allowance will give them. Those people, who have no recourse to public funds, are the poorest individuals I see coming through my door, and this Government have caused that situation. This Government have caused a situation in which asylum seekers have got absolutely nothing. This is about the very poorest people, who have got the worst life chances as a result, and this Government are completely failing to do anything to support them or to improve their life chances. This is about people on disability benefits, who are really struggling, and at every turn, this Government have made their lives worse, rather than better. This is about lone parents, who are disadvantaged as a result of universal credit. This is about the increases in food bank usage.

The Government talk about working your way out of poverty. I do not understand how people can have hope when they do not have enough to eat.