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Disrespectul Damaging Disastrous; NATS SLAM UK GOVERNMENT'S EVEL PLANS.

Byline: Norman Silvester

A new row broke out last night over English votes for English laws, with the SNP again calling on David Cameron to ditch the controversial plans.

The Nationalists say the move - dubbed "EVEL" - will restrict Scottish MPs' voting rights and make them second-class citizens in the UK parliament.

The proposals, announced last week by the Prime Minister, would see a new parliamentary stage introduced for passing laws that only affect England.

Shadow SNP leader of the House of Commons Pete Wishart has called the plans "disrespectful" and "damaging to Scotland".

He claims EVEL means Scottish MPs, including 56 SNP members, will no longer be able to vote on issues which impact on Scotland, including budget matters.

However, in a letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell accused the SNP of getting their facts wrong.

The lone Scots Tory MP insisted Scottish MPs would still be able to vote on every bill passing through the House of Commons but not those stages which only affect England.

DISRESPECTFUL Wishart In a letter to PM David Cameron, Wishart said: "The proposals are nothing less than a constitutional outrage that will see Scottish MPs cut out of voting on matters which impact Scotland and our budget.

ACCEPTANCE Mundell "They will reduce the rights of Scottish MPs to protect the interests of their constituents.

"It seems your party will go to great lengths to avoid having to listen to the needs and concerns of the people of Scotland.

"The SNP will oppose these plans at Westminster. We ask you to think again on these disrespectful proposals which are damaging to Scotland."

But Mundell accused the SNP of double standards.

He said: "Only a short time ago, it was your party's policy for SNP MPs to exclude themselves from all stages of voting on Bills which only affected other parts of the UK.

"Scottish MPs will still be able to vote on every Bill which passes through the House of Commons.

"I believe these proposals will command widespread sympathy and acceptance in Scotland."

Labour and the Lib Dems have warned that EVEL will push Scotland towards independence.

Labour's sole Scottish MP Ian Murray described the plans as a constitutional wrecking ball.

Labour Osborne's Budget will pile more misery on to poorest Scots families

Nearly 300,000 Scots families face being plunged into poverty by Tory plans to slash the welfare budget.

Chancellor George Osborne is set to announce in his Budget on Wednesday that child tax credits and working tax credits will be frozen or cut.

More than 296,000 families in Scotland receive the benefits, introduced by Gordon Brown 12 years ago, to boost low incomes.

But the Tories have said the UK should pay out less in tax credits and that companies should offer workers higher salaries.

Labour's shadow secretary of state for Scotland Ian Murray said: "The Prime Minister promised the 'good life' for families across the UK.

"At the last election, they also promised, and failed to be, 'the most family-friendly government ever'. Now, his government are ready to slash vital support for Scots families.

"The Budget looks set to hit working families the hardest. With thousands of families in Scotland struggling from week to week, the absolute last people the Chancellor should target is low income families.

Instead, his plans to slash welfare put nearly 300,000 families, and more than half a million children, at risk."

Murray added: "Labour introduced tax credits to lift the incomes of working people and make work pay. They worked.

"But last week, we saw shocking statistics which revealed more than 200,000 children in Scotland live in poverty. On what planet does slashing tax credits help those kids?" Poverty Alliance director Peter Kelly said: "For a government that is supposed to be trying to support people into work - and sees work as the best route out of poverty - proposals to cut tax credits will do the exact opposite.

"Tax credits have been really important in lifting families out of poverty. They're one of the few tools we have that can target in-work poverty."

The Tories plan to increase the tax-free income tax threshold to PS12,500.

Kelly added: "Cutting tax for everyone affects our ability to pay for services and has an impact on how much we can afford in terms of other benefits."

A Treasury spokeswoman said: "In Scotland, as across the rest of the UK, the proportion of individuals and children in relative poverty are at their lowest levels since the 1980s.

"Work is the best route out of poverty, with children in workless families around three times as likely to be in poverty than those in working families.

"That's why, as part of our long-term economic plan, our reforms to the welfare system are focused on making work pay, while our reforms to the tax system are allowing people to keep more of what they earn.

"With substantial taxraising powers on the way to the Scottish Parliament, there will be scope to make greater decisions on spending in Scotland."

CAPTION(S):

BUDGET Osborne

DISRESPECTFUL Pete Wishart

ACCEPTANCE David Mundell

SUPPLIES Volunteer Stuart Little stacks shelves at a food bank in Whitburn, West Lothian.

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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 5, 2015
Words:875
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