Peter Dowd (Bootle) (Lab): The 2015 Conservative manifesto promised to improve the lives of the millions
“who work hard, raise their families, care for those who need help, who do the right thing”.
The tax credit changes will do exactly the opposite and instead penalise them heavily. There is no hiding from that. This is not the right thing. Why do the Government not accuse all people on tax credits of being feckless? That is what they really think. They do not bother even to make an artificial distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor. They do not care. If people are poor, deserving or otherwise, they do not care.
From what I can see, that is what those on the Government Benches think. They want urgent action to tackle the burden of tax credit expenditure, but take a mañana approach to tackling the issue of low pay. Some Conservative Members have expressed concern, but that is as far as it goes. Hand wringing, tutting, head shaking—conscience salved. But Conservative Members will be reminded time and again of their support for these proposals. It might get a bit tedious, but so be it.
The Chancellor says the changes are fair, so let me give a few facts. Facts can be stubborn. First, during this Parliament cumulative income loss will be between £6,000 and £9,500. Secondly, 3.2 million hard-working families will be hit. Thirdly, the changes will mean less pay, with some low income families keeping just 3p of every extra pound. Fourthly, child poverty will increase. Fifthly, the cuts are not compensated by other changes and have not been impact assessed. This is dreadful and the Government should think again.
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