‘Drop cuts to tax credits’ urge Eastbourne Labour Party

Jake Lambert with Labour volunteers at a street stall in Eastbourne (photo submitted). SUS-151028-160256001
Jake Lambert with Labour volunteers at a street stall in Eastbourne (photo submitted). SUS-151028-160256001

Government plans to cut tax credits should be dropped following a defeat in the House of Lords – Eastbourne’s Labour Party has urged.

The majority of Lords supported a motion on Monday calling for the cuts to be delayed until a fuller analysis of their impact is undertaken as well as measures to provide full transitional protection for low income families for three years.

Opponents of the changes have said that three million families could be affected, with some set to be £1,300 a year worse off.

Jake Lambert, chair of the Eastbourne Constituency Labour Party, said that 6,900 Eastbourne families including more than half of the children in the town could be hit by the changes.

He added, “The Government should not be hitting families who work hard day after day just to get by.

“Labour is calling on [Eastbourne MP] Caroline Ansell and the Tories to stop the tax credit cut. We need to balance the books, but the way to do that isn’t to hit the wallets of working families.”

Mr Lambert is also urging people to sign Labour’s petition to stop the tax credit cuts at labour.org.uk/taxcredits

Meanwhile the Eastbourne People’s Assembly Against Austerity, which launched itself last month as a grass-roots social movement, has also condemned tax credit cuts as a ‘threat’ to local families, businesses and the economy.

A spokesman for the group said Mr Osborne’s proposals had created a ‘political firestorm’ as the implications for those on low incomes have emerged.

A self-employed single mum of two has contacted the group and spoke of her ‘anger’ at the changes, which she feels does less to incentivise work.

Under the proposed changes the income threshold for working tax credits would be cut from £6,420 to £3,850 a year, and the rate at which payments are cut will be made faster.

Chancellor George Osborne’s emergency Budget in the summer also committed to changes to the child element of tax credit and universal credit which will mean it is no longer available to families for third and subsequent children born after April 2017.

This was alongside plans for a National Living Wage of £7.20, which will be introduced in April 2016, rising to £9 an hour by 2020.

Following the Lords’ vote, the Tory Government has launched a review into the workings of Parliament, as the Lords has not traditionally blocked financial legislation that has the backing of a majority of MPs in the Commons.

According to a poll commissioned by campaign group 38 Degrees and carried out by YouGov, 51 per cent of people in the South East said that tax credit cuts should not go ahead in their current form.

Of these, 16 per cent thought cuts should still go ahead but at a different time or at a lower rate, 17 per cent thought they should not go ahead altogether, while 18 per cent backed cuts or changes elsewhere.

Rebecca Falcon, campaigns manager at 38 Degrees, said, “This poll shows that tax credit cuts are turning into a political disaster for the Government.

“Before the election Cameron promised not to cut tax credits, then went back on his word – and for almost half of Britons, that broken promise has not gone unnoticed.

“If these cuts go ahead, thousands of families on low pay will be worse off each month.

“More than a 100,000 people have already joined the campaign to stop the cuts, and 1 in 6 people in Britain want the government to u-turn now. The government is on the wrong side of public opinion.”

But this week following the vote in the House of Lords Mr Osborne said that tax credit spending had to be brought under control and argued that uncontrolled spending on welfare was a threat to the UK’s economic security.

Modifications to proposals could be announced in his Autumn Statement, which is due at the end of November.

Working Tax Credit was introduced by the Labour Government back in 2003 under then Chancellor Gordon Brown.

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