Fresh calls to drop ‘shameful’ tax credit cuts in Hastings and Rother

Labour's Sarah Owen
Labour's Sarah Owen

‘Shameful’ plans to cut tax credits should be dropped following a House of Lords defeat – both Labour and Liberal Democrat members in Hastings and Rother have 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.

Labour’s Sarah Owen, who came second behind Hastings and Rye’s Conservative MP Amber Rudd in the general election earlier this year, called the vote in the Lords ‘great news’, and described the cuts as ‘shameful’ and ‘unjustifiable’ on social media site Twitter.

She added: “Big defeat for govt and a big relief for low paid workers.”

Nick Perry, of the Hastings and Rye Liberal Democrats, said he was ‘glad’ to see so much opposition to the changes in Hastings, and welcomed the fact that the House of Lords had sent the government ‘back to the drawing board’. But he felt people should know that the Labour Party could have backed his party’s ‘fatal’ motion to kill off the cuts completely.

Meanwhile at the Bexhill and Battle Constituency Labour Party annual gathering earlier this month chairman Tim Macpherson said: “The people of Rother need the Labour Party to function as an effective opposition to these cruel cuts, and continue to campaign for a fairer and more equal society.”

Appearing on BBC’s Question Time earlier this month Ms Rudd was challenged by a single mum of four, who was in tears when she said the Tories were about to cut tax credits after promising not to.

Before the question Ms Rudd, who is the government’s secretary of state for energy and climate change, said the only threat to the NHS and the country’s schools would be a badly managed economy.

Ms Rudd previously told the Observer: “We need to move from a high tax, high welfare economy to a higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare society.”

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.

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 with 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.”

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

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