Think again call over tax credit changes

HUNDREDS of local families could be better off not working when changes to tax credits come into force from next month.

One of Eastbourne’s Euro MPs is calling for an urgent review of the mooted Working Tax Credit cuts after finding out that 315 families will be hit by the changes.

Under changes announced by George Osborne earlier this month, couples with children who are earning less than around £17,700 will need to increase the number of hours they work from a minimum of 16 to 24 hours per week or they will lose all their working tax credit of £3,870 per year.

And in Eastbourne that means that 315 families, which include 680 children, could lose out.

If they cannot find extra work, these families will lose their whole Working Tax Credit.

According to Mr Skinner that will leave many of them worse off in work than they would be on benefits.

The MEP, who is an economics spokesperson in the European Parliament, said, “David Cameron and Nick Clegg can’t do their sums.

“They have created a scenario in which hundreds of Eastbourne families will lose £73 per week, and will in fact be better off if they don’t work.

“Tax credits were introduced to help make work pay but instead we have a situation where families would be better off if they left their jobs. That cannot be right.

“With unemployment soaring and the economy flat-lining we should be helping people into work not pushing them onto the dole.

“David Cameron must think again, time is running out to defuse this tax credit bombshell.”

According to government figures, a couple with two children working 16 hours per week on the minimum wage, entitled to working tax credit, currently has a weekly income of around £330 per week.

If they were out of work, the couple would have an income of around £271 per week – so they are currently better off in work by £59 per week.

But come April, unless they can increase their working hours to 24 hours per week, they will lose all their working tax credit and earn just £257 per week.

This is £14 per week less than if they were out of work and £73 per week less than before the changes to tax credits come into effect next month.

Are you one of the families who will be affected? Email richard.morris@jpress.co.uk to let us know what you think of the plans.