Over the years I have spoken to many people about tax credits on their doorsteps, usually when they ask me the classic question of what a Labour Government ever did for them. When Gordon Brown introduced tax credits he did it so discreetly that many working families never even knew that it was a politician who made the decision to support them. But the Tories have now reminded us all that tax credits are most definitely a political decision.
During this year’s election campaign the Prime Minister promised he wouldn’t touch tax credits if the Tories were re-elected. That promise has now been broken, and the Government has no mandate for these changes.
In Islington South and Finsbury there would be 6,400 families, with 11,600 children between them, affected by cuts to tax credits. Most of these families are working, reflecting the core principle, which has always underpinned the entire system, that hard work should be rewarded.
In the last few months I have fought hard the protect tax credits, both as a constituency MP and in my front bench role as Shadow Employment Minister. During the recent committee debates on the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, I led Labour’s opposition to the Tories’ proposed cuts. You can read my speech in full on my website.
Since their recent defeat in the Lords, the Tories have been forced to re-think their plans, and I will continue to work hard throughout this process to preserve this essential support for working families on low incomes.