Osborne’s cuts to Tax Credits are wrong

Mick RobertsHas the pantomime season started early in the Tory Party? Witness last week and the ludicrous attempts of Cameron and Osborne to try and rebrand this nasty Tory government as the champion of working people. Even worse is the fact that this disingenuous deception is being perpetrated in parallel with their swingeing cuts to tax credits that will worsen the finances of as many as 2.5 million working families.

From next April, the point at which tax credits start to be reduced, the threshold will be cut from £6,420 to £3,850 and the taper (the rate at which tax credits will be reduced further) is set to increase by an extra 15%. In normal everyday language this means lower paid working families face devastating cuts of up to £50 per week from their income.

In truth tax credits, whilst playing a crucial role in ensuring the incomes of the low paid are lifted to a higher level are not a genuine solution to the problem of poverty pay. This complex system was a Labour government fudge to provide financial uplift to the low paid by what is effectively a state subsidy that allows employers to continue to pay poverty wages.

Whatever weasel words Cameron and Osborne use in an attempt to justify their cuts to Tax Credits there is no doubt that cutting these payments without an immediate hike in wages for the lower paid is going to create immense hardship within poorer families.

The crux of the problem is that we have too many jobs that pay wages which cannot be lived on. Clearly we need government action to tackle the situation now through the immediate introduction of a mandatory £10 per hour Living Wage.

Whilst Osborne and May tried frantically to out tough each other’s rhetoric in Manchester last week, myself and many Labour colleagues were among the 60,000 plus working people who took to the streets to protest peacefully, and with dignity, against Tory austerity. Make no mistake austerity is a deliberate political choice, a damaging ideological policy that is wreaking havoc on the lives of many of our most vulnerable citizens and is directly leading to increased levels of child poverty.

We need the Chancellor to admit that these planned cuts to tax credits are wrong because, without a wage hike to offset the lost income, they will damage the lives of many working families leaving them struggling to succeed in an economy that simply doesn’t work for them.

It would be easy to make use of national statistics to put some context to the devastating impact that will be felt by working families but the local statistics are far more appropriate and damning. In Crewe and Nantwich there are 4,800 working families with children receiving Tax Credits and there are 8,800 children living in working families that receive Tax Credits. Our Tory MP, Edward Timpson, voted in favour of the cuts to Tax Credits.

Working families need a government that is on their side. On this evidence the Tory government, and our MP, are anything but.

If you don’t agree with the government punishing our poorest children then please write to Edward Timpson urging him to ask the Chancellor to reconsider his position before more lasting damage is inflicted on the lives of working families by this Tory government.