I have taken the proposed changes to tax credits extremely serious having been contacted by many working people in Taunton Deane who may be affected. I have also taken advice from a number of local organisations, including the local CAB, and together with many other colleagues I have raised the concerns with the Chancellor, George Osborne, whom really is listening.
Mr Osborne has personally assured me that he is looking at what can be done to help with the transition between proposed changes and the introduction of the living wage beginning next year.
However, we must remember that the Government was elected to fix the public finances and with a clear mandate to deliver £12 billion in welfare savings. Tax credits have risen to their highest level for a decade and are escalating out of control. The original forecast for the cost of tax credits was £1 billion but the bill has now risen to £30 billion with welfare remaining the largest sector of government funding (larger than both health, education). There will inevitably be some further difficult decisions to be made in order to get the public finances back in control in order to make the country fiscally sound. If the changes to tax credits are halted then then other areas will inevitably be affected as savings must be made. But I am pressing to ensure that life is not made tougher for hard working people in Taunton Deane.