A South Shields MP is calling for a one-year halt of planned tax credit cuts after it was revealed that more than 10,000 South Tyneside children will be affected.
Emma Lewell-Buck has welcomed national charity, the Children Society’s report which revealed that 5,900 families – with 10,100 – children, will be hit by the Government’s tax credit cuts, which are due to be introduced in April.
Chancellor George Osborne says cuts to the benefits budget will be off-set by the new ‘national living wage’ of £7.20 an hour for over-25s.
But campaigners argue the cuts in working benefits will still leave the lowest-paid families worse off and the Children’s Society is asking for the cuts to either be axed or at the very least phased in.
The House of Lords voted to delay the changes last month but Mr Osborne has refused to rule out pushing ahead with the plans.
Mrs Lewell-Buck is now also asking for a one-year delay into the cuts while a ‘full rethink’ is carried out.
I call for a one year pause.Emma Lewell-Buck
She said: “I welcome this report from the Children’s Society, which draws further attention to the Government’s callous cuts to tax credits.
“While the report contains some good recommendations, I don’t believe phasing of the cuts is the answer.
“As a member of the work and pensions select committee, I called for a one-year pause in these cuts for a full rethink of their impact. Not only are the Tories creating problems with tax credits, but they’re failing to have any real strategy to tackle wider poverty across the UK.”
Meanwhile, staff at the borough’s Citizens’ Advice Bureau are braced for a sharp rise in cases if the cuts go ahead.
“Forty-two per cent of our work is dealing with people who are struggling financially and this is going to have a big impact on that,” said spokesman Ian Thompson.
“It flies in the face of attempts to reduce child poverty and efforts to make work pay. It will be particularly difficult in areas such as South Tyneside, where a lot of jobs are zero-hours contracts, minimum wage or low-paid.
“These are the people who are going to be affected – the people are who are worst off in the community are going to face the biggest cuts.
“We expect there to be more demand for our services from people who are struggling to pay their bills.”