MP adds voice to tax credit rethink calls

Chancellor George Osborne
Chancellor George Osborne

ST Helens South and Whiston MP Marie Rimmer has challenged George Osborne to take on board concerns over his welfare reforms.

Ms Rimmer, a former leader of St Helens Council, questioned the chancellor during a House of Commons debate earlier this week.

I hope the chancellor remains true to his word and reconsiders these proposals

St Helens South and Whiston MP Marie Rimmer

She highlighted research by the Resolution Foundation that states the plans would push around 600,000 children into poverty by 2020 with two thirds of those children living in working families.

To which Mr Osborne replied: “I will listen to the concerns that have been raised in this, the elected Chamber, about the transition of the welfare reforms we have put forward precisely so that we continue to help working families.”

Earlier this week, the House of Lords backed an amendment for the cuts to be put on hold pending independent analysis, prompting calls from Conservative MPs that peers had caused a constitutional crisis.

The Lords - who usually do not interfere with financial matters - also supported Labour’s proposal to provide financial support for at least three years for those likely to be affected.

Speaking after the exchange in the Commons, Ms Rimmer said: “These proposals would impact upon 8,300 children in working families in St Helens South and Whiston, with families losing £1,300 per year if these changes were brought in.

“I want to see an end to government subsidies for employers who pay poverty wages but this must be done by implementing a proper living wage and ensuring working families are not financially punished during the process.

“I hope the chancellor remains true to his word and reconsiders these proposals ahead of the autumn statement to ensure local families are not punished due to the Prime Minister reneging on his pre-election promise to protect tax credits.”