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by Tom Freeman
08 July 2015
Conservatives accused of ‘spin’ over budget

Conservatives accused of ‘spin’ over budget

George Osborne's emergency Budget will hit the poor and vulnerable the hardest, despite the Chancellor’s pitch that it was aimed at working people, it has been claimed.

SNP Depute Leader and Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie said the Budget “was a sermon from the high priest of an austerity cult - taking from the poor and hard working people and giving to the richest”.

Scottish Labour leadership candidate Kezia Dugdale said: "People won't be fooled by the Tory spin - this is a bad Budget for working families across the UK.”


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Among Osborne’s announcements was several cuts to the welfare bill, which Children in Scotland Chief Executive Jackie Brock called “shameful”.

Child tax credits will be restricted to two children by 2017, which Brock said “will punish children born into larger low income families and stifle opportunities for those families.

“Given the entrenching of inequality and social division that will result, there is a horrible and disturbing irony in George Osborne calling his spending plans ‘a one nation Budget for one nation’,” she said.

Automatic entitlement to housing benefit will be cut for 18-21 year olds, and Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said: “This is a shameful decision which is unjustified and cruel.  It completely removes the safety net that is in place to protect young people whose circumstances often prevent them from staying in or returning to the family home.”

Housing Associations, which will see a cut in revenue, are also critical. The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) said the welfare cuts could be as damaging as the ‘bedroom tax’.

Chief executive Mary Taylor said: “As a consequence of these new cuts to welfare, reduced income and increased costs to housing associations – in terms of increased collection costs and bank charges – will make it more difficult to invest in new supply of affordable housing and will put more pressure on the social rented sector

Unions criticised Osborne’s announcement of a compulsory living wage of £9 an hour by 2020 as a “con trick”.

Grahame Smith, General Secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), said: “The Chancellors so-called National Living Wage, pitched at £7.20 next year, will be nothing of the kind and is simply a cheap gimmick aimed at undermining the successful work we have undertaken to promote a meaningful Living Wage that genuinely helps people out of in work poverty.”

But Ian Brinkley, Senior Economic Advisor at research group The Work Foundation called the announcement “a bold intervention that will increase the relative wages of many low paid workers. Equally surprising was the levy on large firms to help sustain more high quality apprenticeships.”

The promised sustained freeze on public sector pay was “less impressive,” he said.

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