Tax credit lifeline for Borders families

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Ahead of this week’s budget charities are warning of the impact losing tax credits would have on Borders families.

Barnardo’s Scotland warned that over 47% of families in the region could be left struggling if tax credit axe was to go ahead.

There are currently around 6000 families in the Borders currently using working tax credits to top up low incomes, helping them buy essentials such as food and clothing for their family.

Barnado’s Scotland has been campaigning to halt plans to change tax credits, and head of policy for Barnardo’s Scotland, Mark Ballard, said: “Increasing numbers of working parents are struggling to stay above the breadline, and any proposed cuts to the benefits they rely on will only make things worse. Low paid parents with dependent children rely on tax credits to make up the difference between what they earn and what they need to get by.

“Families would be better off if the UK Government focused on tackling low wages and high childcare costs, instead of cutting struggling families income.”

Calum Kerr, MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, added: “Further cuts in tax credits will be devastating here in the Scottish Borders. Low wages are already a major problem in this region - figures show that between 2001 and 2013, pay for people working in the region increased by just five per cent, compared with nearly 38 per cent across Scotland as a whole.

“Instead of taking money out of the pockets of low income households George Osborne should adopt the SNP’s policy and raise the minimum wage to £8.70 by 2020. That would remove the need for these tax credits and help protect families rather than punishing them.”