WHEN even Boris Johnson says tax credit cuts are a bad idea, it might be time for George Osborne to reconsider.
The Chancellor found himself under siege in Parliament this week as he faced calls from economists, the media and his own party to rethink his proposed reforms to tax credits. But such is the arrogance of the man who seems convinced he is the next Prime Minister, he failed to listen to reason and continues to push ahead with the planned cuts.
Earlier this month, Osborne stood on a stage just down the road in Manchester and had the audacity to claim the Tories are the new party of working people.
In reality, his tax credit changes are going to hit working people harder than any cuts that have come before, and the blow will be felt the hardest in communities like ours. Nearly 40% of workers in Rochdale have their wages topped up by some sort of tax credit, a much higher proportion than the UK average. By slashing credits, the Government risks pushing low paid people into unemployment because work will no longer seem worthwhile.
Osborne claims these cuts will be offset with the introduction of the so called “living wage” of £9 an hour. But this rebranded minimum wage will not come into full effect until 2020, that is a long time to wait for families who are struggling to put food on the table. Even then, experts predict many families will be £1,000 a year worse off under the new system.
Tax credits aren’t the most efficient way to get money to people who are poorly paid. I believe the Government should focus on offering tax incentives for employers to increase wages. But for now, this imperfect system is the only thing keeping many families in Rochdale above the poverty line.
Despite all his posturing, it’s clear the Chancellor doesn't care about real working people.