“DOUBLE-WHAMMY” OF TORY AND LABOUR FAILURE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
Local MP Dave Doogan has said "Sir Keir Starmer has abandoned families in Angus to poverty" - as new analysis reveals 490 Angus families are hit by the two-child cap. The analysis, conducted by the SNP using the latest data available from the UK government Department for Work and Pensions, reveals 52% of Universal Credit and Tax Credit claimants in Angus are affected by the policy and were not receiving financial support for at least one child in April 2023.
This comes after the Labour Party on Sunday endorsed the Conservative UK Government’s two-child benefit cap policy – despite the Child Poverty Action Group highlighting that repealing it would lift 250,000 children out of poverty overnight.
Further House of Commons Library analysis commissioned by the SNP, shows students from low-income families have lost out on more than £6billion of financial support since 2013/14, due to the Tory-Lib Dem government's decision to scrap the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).
The analysis shows that had the weekly payments of up to £30 for young people in 16-to-19 education been kept, and increased in line with inflation, they would now be worth £43.50 a week. If that funding had not been cut by the UK Government, students from the poorest backgrounds would have received an estimated £833million of support in 2023/24.
In Scotland, the SNP government has protected the EMA, helping more than 344,000 young people from poorer backgrounds to stay in education over the past decade, with an average annual payment of £802 per student. The Scottish Government has spent more than £276 million protecting the allowance, despite UK government cuts. The House of Commons Library analysis shows the average amount a single person spends on food, at around £33.50 a week, is about the same as the SNP government's EMA payment in Scotland.
Commenting, SNP MP for Angus, Dave Doogan, said: "Sir Keir Starmer has abandoned families in Angus to poverty by choosing to keep the Tory two child cap. "Politics is about priorities. Our SNP government has prioritised tackling poverty by introducing progressive policies like the Scottish Child Payment but the damaging policies of the Tories and pro-Brexit Labour Party are pushing children back into poverty and undermining progress.
“Combined with Westminster’s decision to cut EMA, which the Scottish Government has spent more than £276 million to mitigate, this is a double-whammy of failure for Scotland’s young people.
“We have restored EMA – but we could do so much more to help young people from the poorest backgrounds if Scotland wasn't having to spend hundreds of millions mitigating Westminster cuts.
"Sunak and Starmer have clearly decided tackling poverty and helping families is not a priority for them.
"With the full powers of independence we can scrap the two-child cap and go further to eradicate poverty for good.
“At the next election, voting SNP is the only way to secure independence and get rid of damaging Westminster governments forever." ENDS Notes for Editors: Full tables for local authorities across Scotland and the UK available here (Table 9) - https://mcusercontent.com/4fae14f57a18ee08253ffc251/files/734a0fc6-ee34-a6bf-8a42-1bfc7f78f499/Data_Tables_UC_and_Child_Tax_Credit_Claimants.ods House of Commons Library analysis
The UK government stopped the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) in the financial year 2013/14, and replaced it with the 16-19 discretionary bursary.
Total expenditure on EMA payments to students in England in the financial year 2009/10 was £554million (see table).
Uprated for inflation and increased student numbers, the EMA would be worth an estimated £833million in the financial year 2023/24, meaning an estimated loss to students of £658million in 2023/24 net of the 16-19 discretionary bursary (see table)
Cumulatively, the loss to students between 2010-11 and 2023-24 is an estimated £6.506billion
In England, the EMA had three rates: £10, £20 and £30 depending on household income. If they had kept pace with CPI inflation since 2010/11 they would be worth £14.50, £29.00 an £43,50 respectively in 2023/24 (Source: https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/timeseries/d7bt/mm23)
It would cost the UK government around an estimated £730million to reintroduce the EMA, assuming the £658million net figure for 2023-24 and adding the cost of administering the scheme (uprated for inflation and student numbers).
If this £730million was additional spending added to the Department for Education's budget, it would result in £71million in Barnett consequentials for Scotland for 2023/24
The Scottish Government spent £276million between 2010-11 and 2020-21 on funding the Education Maintenance Allowance in Scotland. The cumulative total beneficiaries from 2010-11 to 2020-21 was 344,200. The cash value of the average annual payment was £802. (Source: Scottish Government, 'Education Maintenance Allowances: 2020-21' https://www.gov.scot/publications/education-maintenance-allowances-2020-21/documents/)
In the financial year 2021/22 (the most recent data available), the average amount spent on food and non-alcoholic drinks was £33.50 per week for a single person who wasn’t retired. The average amount spent on food by a single person in 2021/22 was similar to the EMA in Scotland. (Sources: ONS, Family Spending in the UK, Table A23 in workbook 2 (for FY 2021/22) and Table A23 for 2010)