Government must come clean over working tax credit cuts says UNISON

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.

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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 loss that 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."

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