With thanks to Kenneth Hutchison, Parliamentary Assistant to Dr. Eilidh Whiteford MP
Banff and Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford has called for the UK Government to reconsider its position on cutting in-work incentives for the low-paid.
In a speech to the House of Commons on Wednesday, Dr Whiteford called on the Government to re-think the proposed cuts scheduled for April. The Institute for Fiscal Studies points out that there will be more losers than winners under the proposed cuts, and the Resolution Foundation estimates that working families with children on Universal Credit will be, on average, £1300 pounds a year worse off by 2020.
The IFS estimate that overall, 2.6 million families across the UK will be worse off by an average of £1600 a year.
Speaking after the debate, Dr Whiteford said:
“While the Government’s U-turn on cutting tax credits was very welcome, it was, as I noted in my speech, a stay of execution given the reductions to the Work Allowance under Universal Credit, scheduled for this April.
“The Government has sold Universal Credit on the basis that work should pay for those in employment. Indeed, Universal Credit was sold as a simplified system which would give families real incentives to find work, and keep work. The reality, however, is that by cutting the Work Allowance, the Government is once again heaping the costs of austerity onto low paid families.
“In a country where the minimum wage remains significantly below what could reasonably be described as a living wage, some form of welfare remains necessary for those undertaking low-paid work. By cutting the Work Allowance the Government is imposing an eye-watering level of marginal taxation on people in low paid jobs, and making it harder than ever for those in low income households to break out of the poverty trap.
“If the Government was serious about making work pay, if they were serious about boosting the UK’s productivity, if they actually wanted to help people get on, they would be increasing the work allowance – not reducing it.”
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