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Helping to serve your community, Chris Evans MP Help Shape Britains Progressive Future

Column: October

Over the past couple of weeks my constituency mailbox has been dominated by one topic in particular – proposed cuts to Tax Credits.

Under current plans set out by the government in July, the income threshold for working tax credit will be reduced from £6,420 to £3,850. The taper rate at which the amount received through tax credits decreases in line with earnings will increase from 41% to 48%.

The introduction of a ‘National Living Wage’ of £7.20 an hour for those over the age of 25 was intended to make up for the decrease in working tax credit payments. The Institute for Fiscal Studies, which analyses the economic and social effects of government fiscal policy, does not believe it will be enough.

Their findings suggest that proposed changes to tax credit cuts will leave 13 million families worse off, and three million of these will be £1,000 a year worse off. The average working family can expect to lose £260 a year.

For working families who are already struggling to pay for the essentials and put food on the table for their children, the consequences of these losses will be very significant.

According to HMRC, 4,500 working families in Islwyn, my constituency, will lose out because of these cuts. This accounts for 59% of all families in the local community. The number of local children who could lose out because of working tax credit cuts is 6,700.

As the Argus recently pointed out, the number of families affected across the whole of Gwent extends to 45,000.

I fear that many working families may now be forced to turn to food banks to put food on the table.

Last week, the House of Lords was asked to approve these cuts. Instead, they passed amendments that will require the government to look again at the proposed cuts and give families protection from them for at least three years.

I strongly believe the actions of the House of Lords point very strongly towards the fact there is genuine concern among many families about the impact these cuts will have on them.

I have always opposed cuts to tax credits and will continue to oppose them in future. We need to bring down the national debt and we can only do that by bringing down the deficit. However I do not think it is fair that working people should suffer to achieve that.

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