photo credit: Rowan Gillette- Fussell via photopin cc

Further evidence is emerging that welfare cuts are pushing working households into poverty, say the Scottish National Party (SNP).

Giving evidence to Scotland’s Welfare Reform Committee, Professor Steve Fothergill of the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University, said benefit cuts will push already struggling working households “further down into in-work poverty”.

Professor Fothergill’s comments come as a new report, commissioned by the Welfare Reform Committee, reveals that in-work households could together expect to lose around £730 million a year, due to cuts to welfare benefits.

According to the report, 48% of the total financial loss to households in Scotland arising from welfare cuts will fall on working families.

The report also found that around 370,000 households will be affected by cuts to Tax Credits, with a loss of around £930 million per year. And 81% lone parents with one child and 86% of lone parents with two children, will be affected by cuts to Tax Credits.

In giving evidence to the committee, Professor Fothergill said: “We’re estimating something approaching half of the financial losses arising from welfare reform do fall on in-work households.

“Now in so-far as those in-work households are skewed towards the bottom end of the income spectrum, even before they lose benefits, then you would expect that if you’re taking money from those households then it will push them further down into in-work poverty.”

Responding to his comments, SNP MSP Clare Adamson said: “Professor Forthergill’s evidence today made clear that low-income households are paying a heavy price for Westminster’s welfare cuts.

“It speaks volumes about Westminster’s misguided priorities when it thinks it is right that in-work households should face £730 million a year loss of income – a move that will only drive more people into poverty.

“The Scottish Government is doing all it can to mitigate the impact of welfare cuts, but the real powers over tax and welfare still remain in Westminster – despite the fact that the UK government has proven time and time again it cannot be trusted to make these choices on Scotland’s behalf.

“Only a powerful voice for Scotland with a strong team of SNP MPs can achieve change, and help deliver progressive policies across the UK.”

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