Tax credit cuts could cost 3.7 million families £1400 per year

Thu, 11/06/2015 - 12:11 -- nick

In advance of its first budget on 8th July the Conservative government is working on new ways to cut spending on welfare.

Having decided to protect the income of pensioners in every case, even giving free TV licences, bus passes and heating payments to millionnaires, they will cut £12 billion from all other benefits.

The BBC is reporting today that this will include £5 billion of child tax credits, meaning 3.7 million of the poorest families will lose around £1,400 every year and the unemployed will be less able to afford to take work.

Under the last Labour government there was a focus on child poverty, but the Conservatives have clearly made a choice that the welfare of children is of less value than that of old people.

We don't advocate cutting pensions, but rewarding people simply because they vote for you - as older people disproportionately do - shows how the Tories are determined to rule only for their supporters despite David Cameron's 'One Nation' posturing after his victory at the general election.

The previous popularity of benefit cuts may be about to come shuddering to a halt though. The government has spent a huge amount of effort developing a 'moral' story to explain their benefit cuts, talking of 'strivers versus skivers' and of people 'sleeping off a life on benefits', while putting forward endless policies based on an assumption that unemployed people are workshy and need to be forced to take jobs when the vast majority only want to work.

This morality argument is of course nonsense, more about driving wedges between people with common causes to distract them from their shared enemy, but it has found a willing audience among those workers suffering low wages and pay rises who are struggling to make ends meet themselves.

Cutting tax credits for those very working people who have supported previous reductions, having bought the story about the lazy unemployed, can only result in an undermining of the carefully cultivated lie.

Those who support the unemployed have been shocked at the level of vitriol poured down on them since the 2010 coalition began, knowing that most have worked and paid National Insurance before and most are simply unlucky in being laid off.

We have been waiting for a more understanding Britain, hoping for compassion from the wider population in the face of the suffering of those around them.

It may be that only being forced into the same straitened circumstances will force workers to identify with the pain of the workless.