MP backs move to cut tax credits - The Worcester Observer

MP backs move to cut tax credits

Worcester Editorial 23rd Oct, 2015 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016   0

WORCESTER’S MP Robin Walker has lent his support to controversial Government cuts to tax credits and said the impact of the changes ‘could be mitigated’.

Mr Walker spoke to the Observer as pressure mounts on Chancellor George Osborne to soften the blow on the lowest paid who could be set to lose £1,000 a year, according to the economic think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

From April, if the plans get the go ahead, the threshold at which tax credits will be removed from people’s pay will fall from the exisiting £6,420 to £3,850.

However, the government claims the new national living wage and the increase in the personal tax allowance will leave people better off.

The city’s MP has supported the reform by saying it will result in workers being paid properly in the first place, rather than their pay being topped up by tax credits.

“Tax credits started out being £1billion in 1998 and grew to cost about £60billion a year. They were intended as a supplement for those on the lowest pay but became a subsidy for low pay,” Mr Walker said.

“We need to replace this system with one that ensures employers pay properly in the first place and then people can keep the money they earn rather than having to give it up to the taxman. I spoke about this as long ago as 2013.

There are about 4200 families in the city who receive tax credits, however it’s not certain how many of them will be affected by the government’s reforms.

But, Mr Walker has said he would support any attempt to lessen the impact if it helps families in the city.

“Of course I would be delighted for any mitigation that the Chancellor can provide if it helps people in Worcester, but carrying on with Labour’s broken tax credit system is not the answer.

“It’s the right approach to tax people the right amount in the first place.

“I want to see people being paid better in Worcester and paying less tax,” he added.

However, former Labour MP for Worcester Mike Foster has urged Mr Walker to vote against his party to stop the reforms from going ahead.

“MPs like Robin Walker could stop these changes going ahead. Government whips will be ringing round MPs in marginal seats like Worcester seeking views,” Mr Foster said.

“Privately, Robin could express his unhappiness. If he did, with a government majority of only 12, it wouldn’t take many others to follow suit and the Chancellor would be forced to compromise or even scrap these unfair proposals.

“If he doesn’t, with this number of families affected, Robin’s majority starts to look a little less comfortable.”

“Reforming welfare is all well and good, but to hit those in work, already struggling on low pay, is just plain spite.

“It is wrong and the sooner the Chancellor changes tack the better,” he added.

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