Rachael Maskell MP for York Central, who has consistently warned against the proposed cuts to tax credits for people in work, has welcomed the House of Lord’s decision on Monday to call for the Government to provide full financial redress to the millions of tax credit claimants who will be affected when their entitlements are reduced. They also voted for a delay in the cuts until a full assessment of their financial impact is carried out.
In the debate the Archbishop of York made a powerful contribution which rightly pointed out how these cuts to working tax credits would drive people to loan sharks and how the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have highlighted that many low-income households were still much worse off than in 2008.
“Labour are fully against these government cuts to welfare which will lead to growing inequality. The government’s planned cuts to tax credits for working people who are poorly paid will impact on 54% of children living in York Central where they are used to support the family income. The tax credit cuts will average a cut of £1300, which will hit the lowest paid working people the hardest. The Lord’s recognised this and took the unprecedented step to vote down these cuts. This shows how out of touch the Government’s proposals are.
These harsh welfare reforms mean that 3 million people will be worse off.
Working-age households with the lowest incomes have already lost the most as a proportion of their incomes and the incomes of families with children have been hit hardest by this Government’s tax and benefit changes. There are 5,400 families with children living in my constituency in receipt of tax credits. More than half of the children in York Central are living in families that receive tax credits. I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have contacted me about this. Ordinary people who are worried about how they will pay their bills or put food on the table.
The Government should be getting on top of extortionately high private rents, which are a major burden on the welfare bill, instead they are cutting the tax credits to those who pay those rents, making life even more difficult.
It’s good that the Government plans to lift the National Minimum Wage but that is in the future, five years away and people need the help now. Even when the new National Living Wage is introduced the Institute for Fiscal Studies say that millions of families will still be worse off than they are now”.
Ms Maskell, who was one of the 48 Labour MPs who voted against the government’s Welfare Reform Bill at the second reading, has now been followed by the rest of her Party and now the House of Lords in opposing these vicious cuts.