Tax credit cuts shaping up to be next poll tax

One of the hottest issues facing the Government are the cuts to be made next April to tax credits, and Labour initiated a major debate in the House of Commons this week on the proposals.

Tax credits top up the low wages of those in work and are crucial to many household budgets put under strain by public-sector pay freezes and big increases in basic utility bills.

Every pound counts for people who are striving hard.

The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies says that tax credit cuts will affect 13 million people to the tune of £260 a year, and that three million people will lose a further £1,000. These are big losses for many people who watch every penny.

The institute is above party politics and makes it plain that the average family receiving tax credits will be significantly worse off, even when you take account of the introduction of the higher national minimum wage.

The distraught Conservative voter who broke down on Question Time as she tearfully described the impact of cuts in tax credits has sent shivers down the spines of many Conservative MPs.

Many of them see a poll tax in the making and are worried that those who lose will be more numerous than their majorities.

Some of them made it clear that they expect the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, to alleviate the problem. Labour will continue to play an active part in persuading the Chancellor to do a u-turn for the sake of working people.