The following column appeared in the Barnsley Chronicle published 13 November 2015:
Here’s a statistic for you: in my Barnsley East constituency, nearly two-thirds of working families – or 63 per cent – receive tax credits.
These are people who are doing the right thing, working hard, but who can sometimes struggle to get by on lower pay. So tax credits are there to help.
But here’s some bad news for you: the Government plan to cut tax credits in April next year. This will leave working families on average £1,300 a year worse off.
People in Barnsley are understandably furious about this. They see tax cuts being given to big business (who often pay low wages) and to people at the top. So why are working people on lower incomes being clobbered?
Introduced in 1999 by the previous Labour Government, tax credits were created to ensure that work pays.
But from next year, the income threshold for Working Tax Credits will be cut from £6,420 to £3,850 a year. This cuts by nearly a half the amount you can earn before your working tax credit starts to reduce.
What this really means is that some 6,400 working families in Barnsley East will be worse off. It also means that some 9,300 local children in my constituency will suffer as a result.
I have voted against the Government’s proposed cuts to tax credits repeatedly in the House of Commons. Last month, the House of Lords voted for a delay in the introduction of these changes, demanding that George Osborne fully reveal the impact of the cuts.
During the general election, David Cameron was asked by a member of the public on TV if he’d cut tax credits if he got elected. He replied, no.
Well, for the sake of so many working families in Barnsley, I think we should hold Mr Cameron to his promise.