Child benefit will continue to provide essential help for low-income families, and the latest statistics show that it has benefited more than 966,000 families and children in Scotland. We are also supporting Scottish families by cutting tax for nearly 2.3 million people, taking 261,000 people out of paying income tax altogether. Some 210,000 families in Scotland will also benefit by up to £6,000 a year from tax-free childcare.
On a day when the Chancellor is saying that he will take action on how this Government and future Governments run deficits, will the Secretary of State tell us that he will protect the worth of child benefit in Scotland for the lifetime of this Parliament?
Will the Secretary of State acknowledge that the people most likely to be impacted by the changes to the child benefit policy are the most vulnerable individuals in society? Those people are also the most likely to be affected by the changes made in the welfare reforms implemented by this Government.
I could not have been clearer—we are retaining child benefit and keeping to the promises made in the election campaign. We are also devolving significant responsibility for welfare to the Scottish Parliament, so that if it wishes to make alternative decisions, it will have the capacity to do so, provided that it can pay for them.