It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Tories planned £12 billion worth of welfare cuts will have the greatest impact on families. Tax credits and other working age benefits are expected to be slashed and now the right leaning think tank, Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), has branded it ‘extremely unfair’.
Despite Cameron Making a speech on the issue of welfare yesterday, his ministers still refuse to give specific details on how the government plans to save £12bn. One possibility is to cut child tax credits back to 2003 levels for those in work as well as housing benefit. It is also thought that some disability benefits could also be affected.
Labour warned during the election campaign that tax credits would be vigorously cut if Cameron returned to power. And Ed Miliband took to Twitter yesterday criticising his speech and suggested that Cameron disguised his own effort to cut tax credits as a way to help working people: “The PM’s one-nation speech feels like a weak attempt to explain why it is OK to cut tax credits and say you stand for working people.”
Although cuts are inevitable, Labour always said it would be done more sensitively, and not aggressively, hurting the most vulnerable in society the hardest. Indeed, Andrew Harrop general secretary of the Fabian Society said of Cameron’s proposed welfare cuts: “This isn’t ‘one nation’; it is nasty politics and terrible policy. The prime minister … hopes to improve life chances for all, but singles out children as the main targets for cuts, once again.”
During his speech Cameron attacked the tax credit system which helps lower paid workers to stay in work. Instead he favours encouraging employers to pay higher wages, based on a living wage.
But he is unlikely to force employers to pay a living wage which would replace the lost tax credits, therefore failing to address the problem of helping working families on low incomes, or to protect the most vulnerable within those families, namely, children.