The government must come clean on the numbers of working people who will be worse off as a result its cuts to tax credits next year, says UNISON.
UNISON is critical of misleading claims made by ministers defending the tax credit cuts, due to come in next April – changes that it says will hit the incomes of as many as 3.3m low to middle income working households.
The union would like to see the government adopt an honest approach during today’s opposition debate on tax credits. Rather than talk about the eight in ten working households that will better off by 2017/18 (largely as a result of the £80 a year cut to personal tax allowances), ministers need to admit how many of those on tax credits will actually be worse off, says UNISON.
There are 17.4m working households where at least someone in is work. If four-fifths will be better off by 2017/18, there’s one fifth – 3.5m – who won’t be, says UNISON. That’s the vast majority of the 3.3m low to middle-income working households on tax credits, 2.7m of which have children.
UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “Ministers are on the back foot over tax credits. They know they are and that’s why they keep hiding behind misleading numbers. It’s high time they came clean over the true number of tax credit losers.
“MPs are fortunate, they’ve just had a ten per cent pay rise, but cuts to tax credits could see some hard-pressed working families lose as much as ten per cent of their income.
“Tax credits are not a luxury that struggling working parents can do without. They are quite simply the difference between families keeping their heads above water and going under. Some working households will be down as much as £50 per week, a lossthat will play havoc with their finances.
“The government’s cruel tax credits cuts will snatch billions from the pockets of mums and dads who are going out to work to give their children the best start in life they can. Several million low to middle income working households are finding it hard to understand why the government seems so determined to punish them in this heartless way.”
Notes to editors:
- Next April the point at which tax credits start to be reduced (the threshold) will be cut from £6,420 to £3,850, and the rate at which they will be reduced (the taper) will be increased from 41p for every £1 earned above the threshold to 48p.
- A family with one child earning £20,000 a year could lose £2,000 and a family with two disabled children on£32,000 a year as much as £3,000.
- With many UNISON members – for example, teaching assistants, hospital cleaners, home care workers, healthcare assistants, nurses, PCSOs and street cleaners – set to be affected by the changes, the union has developed an online calculatorso people can work out how the tax credit changes are likely to affect them and theirfamilies. More than 50,000 people have used the calculator since it was posted online a month ago.
- UNISON has also produced a mapshowing the numbers of families that will be affected across the UK. By clicking on each constituency people can see whether their local MP voted for or against the cuts to tax credits. UNISON is urging people whose MP voted for the cuts to write to them explaining why the changes will be so damaging.
- UNISON has a number of case studies of families who will be affected by the cuts, if you would like to be put in touch with one of them contact the press office.
UNISON media contacts:
Liz Chinchen T: 0207 121 5463 M: 07778 158175 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fatima Ayad T: 0207 121 5255 M: 07508 080383 E: email@example.com