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Letter to the Chronicle on tax credits from Cllr Tony Clayton

November 10, 2015 2:13 PM
By Alan Bullion

Dear Gabriel,

Hard on the heels of last weeks bleak forecast for young people trying to buy a home in Sevenoaks comes worse news for 4,700 children in working families here.

New figures produced by the House of Commons Library show over three million low-income working families now getting tax credits will lose out under Conservative plans to cut tax credits. 2,700 of those families, including 4,700 children, live in Sevenoaks and Swanley. The change will mean the average family losing £750 a year, starting in April 2016.

Despite claims from the Conservatives that plans to increase the minimum wage will compensate, the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies has said Tory figures don't stack up. IFS analysis shows a £750 average loss will only be offset by £200 as a result of the new minimum wage.

Liberal Democrats have opposed the move and said it undermines the work of the Coalition Government, to make sure it always pays more to be in work than on benefits. After the Conservative proposals, and after losing a large part of tax credits, working families on lower incomes would only keep at most 52% of each extra pound they earn - and in some cases less than 20%. Millionaires keep 55%!

These changes to tax credits will hammer families in Sevenoaks who can least afford it. They completely undermines any claim the Tories have of being on the side of working families. They need to go back to the drawing board on welfare reform so that it supports those doing the right thing and going out to work.

Lib Dems will continue to oppose this measure. We worked hard in Coalition to ensure that work would always pay more than choosing to remain on benefits.

Tony Clayton