A plan to put cash in peo­ple’s pock­ets

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

Against the back­drop of the con­tin­u­ing Brexit sham­bles, next Mon­day sees the UK chan­cel­lor, Philip Ham­mond, bring for­ward his Bud­get for the year ahead.

The SNP has called on the UK gov­ern­ment to use this Bud­get to de­liver a ma­jor boost to in­comes – warn­ing mil­lions of fam­i­lies have suf­fered a “Tory decade of de­cline” in liv­ing stan­dards as a re­sult of aus­ter­ity cuts and Brexit.

The Tory record on liv­ing stan­dards has been ut­terly mis­er­able – with ris­ing poverty and in­equal­ity, real wages fall­ing, so­cial se­cu­rity slashed, and in­creased liv­ing costs leav­ing many fam­i­lies strug­gling to get by.

The UK gov­ern­ment has an op­por­tu­nity to gen­uinely end aus­ter­ity, and get be­hind the SNP’s five-point plan to re­verse the de­cline and put cash in peo­ple’s pock­ets by:

In­tro­duc­ing the real Liv­ing Wage – The Chan­cel­lor can end a decade of de­cline by in­ject­ing much-needed in­vest­ment into im­prov­ing house­hold in­comes by lift­ing the ben­e­fit freeze, in­tro­duc­ing a real Liv­ing Wage for all work­ers and abol­ish­ing the dis­crim­i­na­tory min­i­mum wage rates for younger peo­ple thereby boost­ing wages for the low­est paid.

Halt­ing and chang­ing Uni­ver­sal Credit – re­in­stat­ing the pre-2015 work al­lowances, lift­ing the ben­e­fit freeze, scrap­ping the two-child cap, cut­ting sanc­tions, and rein­tro­duc­ing the Em­ploy­ment Sup­port Al­lowance and Work Re­lated Ac­tiv­ity se­vere dis­abil­ity pre­mium.

Re­vers­ing the cuts to hous­ing sup­port – By abol­ish­ing the bed­room tax and re­vers­ing their cuts to hous­ing sup­port, the UK gov­ern­ment would tackle one of the sin­gle big­gest liv­ing costs.

Re­duc­ing en­ergy costs – in­tro­duc­ing a mean­ing­ful cap on en­ergy bills, main­tain­ing the fuel duty freeze, and in­tro­duc­ing a fuel duty reg­u­la­tor. Re­duc­ing en­ergy costs would tackle the scan­dal of low in­come fam­i­lies and pen­sion­ers hav­ing to choose be­tween heat­ing their homes and putting food on the ta­ble.

Rul­ing out a hard Brexit – com­mit­ting to sin­gle mar­ket and cus­toms union mem­ber­ship to avoid decades of dam­age to in­comes and liv­ing stan­dards.

Mil­lions of fam­i­lies have suf­fered from years of failed Tory aus­ter­ity cuts that have seen real wages fall, so­cial se­cu­rity pay­ments slashed, liv­ing costs rise, and the ma­jor­ity of fam­i­lies left poorer and worse off than they would have been a decade ago.

Added to that, the To­ries’ in­com­pe­tent han­dling of EU ne­go­ti­a­tions leaves us fac­ing an ex­treme Brexit that will de­liver a body blow to in­comes and liv­ing costs across Scot­land.

Short of stay­ing in the EU, as Scot­land voted for, the only way to pro­tect jobs and pros­per­ity is to re­tain our mem­ber­ship of the sin­gle mar­ket and cus­toms union.

The Chan­cel­lor should rule out any Brexit deal that would dam­age liv­ing stan­dards by tak­ing us out of the sin­gle mar­ket.

While the West­min­ster par­ties only of­fer de­spair and chaos with their plans for a hard Brexit and fur­ther aus­ter­ity, the SNP are giv­ing hope with pro­gres­sive poli­cies to boost in­comes and take Scot­land for­ward.

The only way to pro­tect jobs and pros­per­ity is to re­tain our mem­ber­ship of the sin­gle mar­ket and cus­toms union

Chan­cel­lor All eyes will be on Philip Ham­mond ahead of his bud­get next week

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