Speaking in a debate on Tax Credits on the 15th September 2015, Clive Efford slammed the Government's tax credit cuts that would see 3,600 households, including 6,600 children in Eltham affected. The proposals will see a teaching assistant £32.49 a week worse off, a health care assistant £35.56 and a nurse with three children would be worse off by £35.91 a week.
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What a mean confidence trick the Chancellor carried out in the Budget. Some 3,600 households in my constituency will be affected, including 6,600 children. The Chancellor said:
“Britain deserves a pay rise and Britain is getting a pay rise."
He also said that those on the national minimum wage can expect a cash increase and full-time workers can expect their incomes to go up by £5,000 a year. But we now know that the whole package is far from compensated for by the increase in the national minimum wage. People on the national minimum wage will not just be worse off next year, but the year after that, the year after that and the year after that—every year until 2021. The Library’s document tells us that on average they will worse off by £8,945 over the next five years.
Conservative Members cheered the Chancellor to the rafters. Did they understand that the overall package would result in the poorest workers among us having their incomes cut? The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions punched the air. Did he not understand that the overall package would result in a cut in the incomes of people on the national minimum wage? Was he being mean or is he just too stupid to be doing his job?
The Chancellor said in his 2010 Budget:
“I am not going to hide hard choices from the British people or bury them in the small print of the Budget documents. The British public are going to hear them straight from me”.
What happened in the latest Budget then? The Conservatives say that theirs is the party of working people. Here are some working people: a cleaner with one child will be £31.72 a week worse off. An assistant cook will be £32.49 a week worse off, a teaching assistant £32.49 and a health care assistant £35.36. A nurse with three children will be worse off by £35.91—from the party that claims to be the party of the workers. I have a whole list of worker after worker, all of them worse off as a result of the changes to tax credits.
Conservative Members may have been convinced by the Chancellor that he will make some changes. We have heard them argue that this change is necessary and that we have to make it. Perhaps they think that they have been given a promise that something will be done and some changes made for the people on this list, but I am sick and tired of hearing Tories tell us that we have to make changes. The changes will not hit them: they will hit the poorest income earners in their constituencies. Let the Tories vote for this change tonight. People will not forget that. We will remember that the Tories voted to reduce incomes for families with children. They trooped through the Lobby, claiming to be the party of the workers but voting to reduce their incomes. People will not forget that."