Unprecedented attention has been given over the last few weeks to Chancellor George Osborne’s announced cuts to welfare benefits, in particular cuts to Tax Credits.
The Prime Minister David Cameron promised not to cut Tax Credits before the General Election and the Government has now been dealt a major blow after the House of Lords voted to delay Tax Credit cuts and to have a three-year transition for low paid workers.
Kingston Council Lib Dem Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Liz Green said,
“There’s an important Liberal Democrat principle about helping the most vulnerable in society. The financial burden should be fair to families on low incomes and these changes could have seen three million families losing ten per cent of their income with average cuts of just over £1,300 a year.”
Locally, the Conservative-run Council have also been gearing up to hit low working families too. Over the summer they have been running a consultation on the Council Tax Reduction Scheme which closed on 11 October. There is an expectation that there will be more residents wanting to claim Council Tax Support once the Government has lowered their income thresholds. The affect of the Government policy was expected to leave a £250,000 hole in RBK’s budgets. To meet this Council budget gap, the Tories locally propose to reduce the amount of Council Tax benefit families get - a double whammy on our lowest income working families!
Cllr Liz Green said,
“This would be a double financial whammy for low income families hit once by the Government and then again by Conservatives locally as they would have to also pay more Council Tax. I’m not sure what will happen now but it’s certain that Osborne will have to make some concessions. We need to make sure Tories locally don’t also attack low income families. “