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by Liam Kirkaldy
13 July 2015
Ken Macintosh distances himself from UK Labour welfare stance

Ken Macintosh distances himself from UK Labour welfare stance

Scottish Labour leadership contender Ken Macintosh has distanced himself from UK Labour's refusal to oppose cuts to child tax credits, saying that although he agreed Labour should not “do blanket opposition” to Tory policy, this is “the wrong issue not to oppose”.

The comments follow Harriet Harman’s appearance on the BBC Sunday Politics show, in which the acting Labour leader announced Labour would not oppose Conservative restrictions on child tax credits.

Meanwhile the SNP responded by accusing Labour of, “following the Tories lead and consigning people to years more austerity and cuts”.

Harman said: “When I was going around the country on the pink bus, talking specifically to women, so often they would say we've got one child, we'd really love to have another but we just can't afford it, what with our homes not big enough and the childcare is too expensive.”

“They're working hard and they feel it's unfair on other people that they can have bigger families that they would love to have if they were in the position to do that. We have to listen to that.”

But Mcintosh, who is running against former deputy leader Kezia Dugdale for the position of leader, responded by questioning the UK Labour stance.

“Scottish Labour is opposed to austerity economics and the arguments the Tories then use to justify cuts to family support.  Tax credits are not the cause of our economic difficulties and it is difficult to see how cutting them does anything other than push more children into poverty in this country. I do not believe this is the right policy for the Labour Party.

“I do not think it is right that you should get more on welfare than you do in work, but the whole point of tax credits is that they help people hold down a job.  Limiting tax credits to families with two children seems to be simply pandering to the fallacious argument that parents have large families to live off the state.  Yet again it risks portraying people in need as scroungers.  As a father of six can I suggest that tax credits do not figure highly as an inducement to have or not have children.”

SNP Social Justice and Welfare spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said: “Harriet Harman's decision to back the Tories deep cuts to tax credits is simply a continuation of Labour's commitment to back George Osborne's cuts, as they did when they voted to back his £30 billion austerity programme, earlier this year.”

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