George Osborne
George Osborne

Cuts to rate at which working people have their tax credit entitlements tapered away will leave 3,100 families across Newbury constituency (and their 6,000 children), on average £1,300 worse off from April.

The data comes from Unison, the trade union, who have produced a map detailing the scale of the cuts; see here

Unison have also produced a calculator to help people work out how much they are set to lose out from the reforms as letters explaining the individual impact on families won’t arrive with those affected until two weeks before Christmas. Its here, please share it with friends, colleagues and family who may be affected.

The shocking cuts to the incomes of low-paid workers are all the more shocking considering the audacious recent claims by David Cameron who used his conference speech to claim that the Conservatives hope to ‘wage war on poverty’ and to be the ‘workers party’, yet these tax credit cuts are affecting people who are in work but stuck on low wages. They are cleaners, shop assistants, teaching assistants, entrepreneurs starting out, junior nurses and office administrators just trying to get by and now they are going to lose over £1,000.

The line might be one of fiscal necessity in order to sort out the nation’s finances but if that were true then why are the Government planning to spend £2bn (a large chunk of the amount saved) in reducing tax for people earning over £50,000 a year. Let’s be clear, this is an ideological choice to load the burden of deficit reduction onto the shoulders of the lowest earners.

But its not just those affected directly that we’re worried about. It’s the knock on effects that taking this money away from those 3,100 families who are likely to spend all of it could lead to additional social costs in the long-term from ill health (from people unable to heat their homes), more people going to food banks and children being malnourished and therefore underachieving at school. More immediately we are concerned that these changes could have a recessionary effect on our retail, travel and other consumer sectors by pulling this spending power (again, from those most likely to spend it) away from our high streets.

All in all these reforms aren’t fair and they are an economic gamble too. We’re calling on Richard Benyon to show some compassion to the poorest workers in the Newbury constituency and lobby his bosses, Cameron and Osborne, to change course now.

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