A new report has shown that the Bedroom Tax is having a serious impact on children’s ability to learn – and Stuart McMillan MSP and Ronnie Cowan MP have called for the measure should be abandoned completely.
Research undertaken by Manchester University published today finds that children in England and Wales are arriving at school less able to learn as a result of hunger and stress – with head teachers drawing attention to “the way that material hardship was affecting children’s ability to learn, both at school and in the home.”
The Scottish Government has now committed £90 million to fully mitigate the Bedroom Tax in Scotland – and will effectively abolish the measure completely when it has the powers to do so.
Commenting, Inverclyde-based SNP MSP Stuart McMillan said:
“Not only are these cuts ideologically driven, they are also unnecessary. The Tories’ Bedroom Tax is not only pushing more people into poverty, but preventing children in England and Wales from reaching their full potential. The Scottish Government has now spent £90 million on cleaning up the Tories’ mess and protecting children, the disabled and vulnerable households.
“Figures published in August have shown that the SNP Government has helped over 1,300 families in Inverclyde hit by Tory Bedroom Tax so far this year. The SNP in government remains committed to abolishing this unfair policy when it has the powers to do so.
Mr McMillan continued:
“The SNP Government has introduced free school meals for all children in primaries 1 to 3. That is now benefiting 135,000 children across the country, and saving families £330 a year. School lunches help a pupil’s ability to learn and benefit more from their classes.
“I am sure the population in Inverclyde will be happy that the Scottish Government has undertaken these measures. However, I believe that being proactive to help Inverclyde would be better as compared to introducing mitigation measures due to heartless Tory cuts.
“There is a different path to austerity. As our alternative policies show, it is a viable path and it is an opportunity that the UK Government should grasp.”
Inverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan said:
“It was due to the SNP MP’s pressure at Westminster that the Tax Credit cuts were dropped as part of the Autumn Statement. This comes after Labour blocked Tax Credits becoming a devolved power through the Scotland Bill.
“George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith are motivated by penny pinching with no thought to the social impacts of their austerity programme. SNP MP’s in Westminster will continue to argue the human cost of this legislation and hold the Tory government to account, whilst the Scottish Government, with its limited powers, mitigates its worst impacts in Scotland.”