Emma has demanded that George Osborne withdraw his plans to cut tax credits, saying the Chancellor’s plans would be devastating for thousands of working families in Shields, and would push children into poverty.
Emma raised the issue at Treasury Questions, following an embarrassing night for the Government when their tax credit plans were rejected by the House of Lords.
She asked the Chancellor:
“6,400 children in South Shields are growing up in families which rely on tax credits. One constituent told me that ‘tax credits at the moment only just make it possible for families to feed and clothe their children as it is. If this Government keep making cuts on those of us who are lowest paid we may just give up hope.’ The public, the experts, some of his own MPs and the other place (the House of Lords) all agree that his plans will victimise working parents and their children, so can the Chancellor please give my constituents some hope and shelve these ridiculous tax credit cuts?”
The Chancellor replied that the Government would help people by delivering “economic security”, which would be achieved by “controlling our welfare bill and making sure this country lives within its means.”
Emma’s question and the Chancellor’s response can be read in full on Parliament’s website.
Despite the Chancellor’s reply, a number of independent studies have shown that people affected will be substantially worse off under the changes. The House of Commons Library estimates that approximately 3 million families will lose an average of £1,300 a year once the tax credit changes come into effect in April. The Resolution Foundation reports that 200,000 children will fall into poverty as a result, while the Institute for Fiscal Studies have said it is “impossible” for the proposed increase in the minimum wage to make up for the cuts.
Before the election David Cameron said he had no plans to cut tax credits, but cuts were announced just two months later in the Government’s first budget.
Labour MPs voted against the cuts earlier this year, and called a debate in Parliament last week to highlight the impact the Tories’ plans would have on the most vulnerable.
Speaking after Treasury Questions, Emma said:
“It seems that the Government is determined to press ahead with these cruel cuts, regardless of the evidence and regardless of the weight of opposition. The public, the experts, the Lords, even some Tory MPs – they all agree that cutting tax credits will be a disaster for working families and their children, but the Government doesn’t seem to want to listen.
“The Tories told the public they would protect tax credits before the election, then announced plans to cut them two months later. That is a betrayal of the people who voted them into Downing Street, and makes a mockery of their claim to be a party for workers. Labour has been campaigning against these tax credit cuts from day one, and we won’t rest until the Chancellor backs down.”