Osborne to slow down UK welfare cuts

George Osborne
George Osborne

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is expected to announce today that his planned £12 billion cuts to the UK’s welfare budget will be spread over a longer period of time.

The cuts, which were originally expected to be fully implemented by 2017/18, may now be spread over three years instead of two.

However, it is still believed that Mr Osborne will announce measures restricting tax credits for families with more than two children.

He is today presenting the first all-Conservative Budget Statement since 1996.

SNP depute leader Stewart Hosie accused Mr Osborne of “acting like Robin Hood in reverse” and warned that tax credit changes would impact household budgets.

Mr Hosie said: “The likely changes to be announced for tax credits will simply cut household budgets, which as the First Minister has pointed out will hit the poorest families with children hardest.

“And whilst he seems to think that businesses will simply raise wages to take the strain, it is completely wrong-headed when his own Government doesn’t even pay the Living Wage. George Osborne must increase the minimum wage now - not wait until some date way in the future - and the UK government needs to get behind the Living Wage, as the Scottish Government has, to help secure family incomes.

“If he won’t, then he should give the Scottish parliament the powers to do it - give Holyrood the levers to help the economy grow and deliver fairness, instead of consigning people to more years of austerity and cuts.”

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