The Tories’ controversial tax credit legislation has provoked a fierce backlash from south west London Labour MPs who decried the plans as ‘totally wrong’.
The government is planning a huge reduction in child tax credit in order to meet their target of working age welfare benefit cuts.
Mitcham and Morden MP, Siobhain McDonagh, addressed the House of Commons on Tuesday and stressed the disproportionate impact this legislation will have on women.
She said: “The advances made in helping those on low pay are about to be rolled back by a party that claims to represent the interests of working people, but in practice does no such thing.”
Mrs McDonagh cited research which says women are more likely to be single parents, and 42% of single parents in the UK live in relative poverty after housing costs.
On the new living wage, she told SW Londoner: “How do these people get from 2015 to 2020? They still need to feed their families.”
Mrs McDonagh is also not hopeful about the ‘fatal motion’ being tabled by Liberal Democrat and Labour peers in the House of Lords.
If successful, it would force ministers to come back with a revised version of their proposals.
She said it was ‘possible but not very likely’, and worried that Cameron would fill the chamber with Tory peers to get the legislation through.
Streatham MP, Chukka Ummuna, condemned the legislation and said: “Taking away tax credits from people who desperately need support rather than taking the necessary action to help make sure our economy is producing more better paid jobs is totally wrong.
“It tells you everything you need to know about the priorities of the Tories and what Labour would do differently.”
These concerns were mirrored by Brixton food bank manager, Jon Taylor, who believes there could be a surge in users if this legislation goes through.
He said: “I hear tax credits mentioned a lot when people come to the food bank. One of the reasons they come to the food bank is low income.”
Behind benefit delays, the highest reason for Brixton food bank usage is low income.
Jon added: “The proposed living wage does not negate what is happening now.”
However, Croydon Central MP, Gavin Barwell, defended the government’s proposals.
He favours increasing the minimum wage so that low paid workers do not have to rely on tax credits.
Mr Barwell said: “Whatever your views on the issue, the decision should be taken by the elected House of Commons, not the unelected House of Lords.”
A petition on 38 degrees opposing the legislation has already received over 100,000 signatures, and tax credits are is due to be debated in the House of Lords shortly.
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