Charity says tax evasion and avoidance blights children's life chances

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A charity warned that tax evasion and tax avoidance were not "victimless crimes" and children's life chances were "blighted" by their impact.

The Finance Committee were taking evidence from the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland and Inclusion Scotland on Scotland's public finances after the independence referendum, on 28 May 2014.

Bill Scott from Inclusion Scotland said: "The casualties are the children who grow up in poverty, whose live chances are absolutely blighted and whose life expectancy is shortened by 20 years.

"That's the consequence and I think people should be woken up to that - that tax avoidance and tax evasions are not victimless crimes, they do have an impact on other people living in society."

Mr Scott earlier stressed that families of disabled children were more likely to be in poverty and had borne the brunt of over half the cuts to benefits instigated by the UK government.

He called for an end to benefits being seen as a safety net, but rather they should be viewed as giving support to people to participate in society.

This would allow welfare to be used as a tool of preventative spending, empowering people to be equal and participative citizens and in the end saving money, according to Mr Scott.

John Dickie from the Child Poverty Action Group said that the UK government's policies on tax and benefits would lead to up to 100,000 children being pushed into poverty by 2020.

Mr Dickie said there would be a need for a "fundamental change" in the approach to child credit and tax benefits, whoever was running Scotland, to prevent this increase.

In his submission to the committee, Mr Dickie had called for tax and benefit levers to be used to protect and boost the incomes of low income families in order to meet child poverty commitments, wherever powers lie post-2014.

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