Government defeat on tax credits is welcome but threat to 3,000 Guildford families still looms large - Cllr Fiona White

Despite the Conservatives being forced into a climbdown over plans to cut tax credits, 3,000 working families in Guildford borough are still threatened.

After Lib Dem and Labour peers in the House of Lords voted to delay the cuts for three years on Monday evening, prompting a government promise to soften the blow, hopes of blocking the cuts completely were dashed after Labour peers refused to back a Liberal Democrat ‘fatal motion’ to kill off the proposals.

This came after figures produced by the House of Commons Library showed over three million low-income working families currently in receipt of tax credits would see their entitlement reduced by an average of £1,000 as part of the Government’s proposals. The plans to increase the minimum wage would only have make up £200 of this shortfall.

IMPACT OF TAX CREDIT CHANGES

Lib Dem County Councillor Fiona White said:

“I’m glad the government has been forced into this climbdown. George Osborne should go back to the drawing board and come up with new plans to balance the books which don’t simply attack working families who are already struggling to get by.

“I’m proud our peers in the Lords, like Baroness Sharp of Guildford, have sent a clear message that the British people will not accept this scale of attack on families living on the breadline.

“Tonight’s vote gives people hope but the threat is still looming large. It is utterly depressing that Labour refused to back the Liberal Democrat attempt to kill off the cuts to Tax Credits completely.

“Instead, the best we can now hope for is ‘transitional arrangements’ which will soften the blow but that alone won’t stop Conservative plans to hammer working families who rely on tax credits, including 5,600 children in our borough who’ll still be forced to live in poorer households, reducing their life chances and making it harder for their parents to make ends meet. And for new claimants, who’ll be hit by the cuts from April without any transitional arrangements at all, this will be a disaster.

“I’m proud that Lib Dems have opposed these unnecessary cuts and we’ll continue to do all we can to stop tax credit changes which will disproportionately hurt low-earning families and we urge others to do the same.

“We worked hard in Coalition to ensure that work would always pay more than choosing to remain on benefits. It is disgrace the Conservatives are still doing their best to undermine this good work - especially after David Cameron promised voters before the election that he wouldn’t touch tax credits”