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I will be brief, because I and my colleagues covered the points in our initial remarks. From what the Minister has said, it is clear that there was no consultation and consideration on the most serious parts of the Bill, including the issue of the third child and the matter of rape. We have no details, and many organisations have said that those provisions were a great surprise to them.
I cannot believe that a Government would be so insensitive as to put a clause such as this one in a Bill. On the day of the Budget, when the policy was announced and we saw it in black and white, it seemed like an afterthought. To treat people as an afterthought—particularly women who are vulnerable and who have been raped—is nothing short of a disgrace.
“poorest households could be more than £500 a year worse off in 2020 as a result of changes made in Chancellor George Osborne’s budget...800,000 households north of the border will have less cash as a result”,
and that the
“IPPR Scotland think-tank found there would be more winners than losers, with some 1.3 million households expected to be better off. But while the richest 20 per cent of households will gain £110 a year by...2020/21, the impact of tax and benefit changes on the poorest 20 per cent of households will see them lose an average of £520 a year.”
Getting our finances into a surplus cannot come at the cost of people’s lives, including children’s lives, and at the cost of making the poorest even poorer.