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Tax credit will shape Osborne's Autumn Statement

  • 20/10/2015
  • Author:MartinKitara

Adam Lake, from Turn2us, says today’s debate on reductions in tax credit is a chance to soften the blow on the poorest in society.

A photography of coins and notes

Too often the third sector engages debates with too vague an objective. As a charity whose cause is to fight for those living in poverty, it is a charge that we have sometimes been subject to in the past. Change is often a slow burn issue, something that builds and grows.

But that is not the case today. The very specific reductions in tax credit and child tax credit; the reduced taper rate, the restriction on eligible children and the slashing of threshold levels mean that the debate on the floor of the house today will be very targeted indeed. This provides both an opportunity and a threat for a chancellor looking for a way to take tax credits out of the media glare. 

It is increasingly becoming accepted across the political divide that the tax credits reductions are unfair for some of the poorest. This is hazardous for a chancellor trying to gain the aspirational working class vote. Many will have seen the heart-breaking testimony of Michelle Dorrell on Question Time, a Conservative voter who feels that she is being punished for doing the right thing by her family. We at Turn2us have received a number of messages from people concerned how they will make ends meet after the reductions come in to play next April. We know that these proposed changes, voted through by Parliament last month, will harm some of the most vulnerable in our society because they are the people that we support every day.

Our greatest hope for softening the blow is that the political cost for George Osborne on this issue is seen as too high. The outcome of today’s debate, and the testimony of members from all parties, will therefore be of major importance as the treasury prepare for the autumn statement. Our message is very clear; the poorest in society should not have to take on the unacceptable burden that is set to be put in place next year. Our fingers are crossed that today will be the start of a process that will see the changes to this policy that those struggling sorely need.  

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