A Conservative MP has accused David Cameron of breaking his election promise not to cut child tax credits and has boycotted a Government visit to his constituency over the “completely unacceptable” measures.
Stephen McPartland said it was “inappropriate” for David Gauke, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, to come to his Stevenage constituency to promote tax breaks for Research and Development while refusing to talk about cuts to child tax credits.
He pointed to new analysis by the House of Commons Library showing that families who will lose all of their working tax credits will subsequently start losing child tax credits.
The research shows that a lone parent with two children working 35 hours a week on earnings of £20,000 a year would lose all of their working tax credits and would see their child tax credit halved.
This would break David Cameron’s explicit promise at the general election not to cut child tax credits, Mr McPartland said.
“This is completely unacceptable and destroys the Government’s final defence that planned cuts do not apply to Child Tax Credits,” he added in a damning attack on his own party’s flagship policy.
Mr McPartland has been the most consistent Tory critics of Mr Osborne’s tax credit cuts and is demanding the Chancellor introduce measures to mitigate the blow to recipients when they come into effect next April.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies has estimated that 3.2m families will lose an average of more than £1,300 a year from the cuts.
Mr Osborne also came under fire today from the man who introduced tax credits: Gordon Brown.
The former Prime Minister said the cuts would “diminish incentives to work” and predicted they will create the highest levels of child poverty in nearly 50 years.
He branded the changes “anti-work, anti-children, anti-family, anti-women and anti-British” and went further than many critics of the plans, telling Mr Osborne to ditch the cuts altogether rather than trying to water down the proposals.
“By cutting work incentives and hitting children hardest they shame the name of Britain – betraying the very British values that encourage fair play, hard work, taking responsibility and compassion to children.
“Even a phased in or watered down version of tax credit cuts will condemn Britain to higher levels of child poverty than at any time in fifty years and what is ‘government induced poverty’ will leave us a more divided, more polarised, harsher, ‘two nations’ Britain, inequality set to rise faster than anywhere in the world.”