POLITICS

Tax Credit Row: Tory MP Boycotts Treasury Minister's Visit To His Town To Protest Against 'Unacceptable' Cuts

11/11/2015 14:14 GMT | Updated 11/11/2015 14:59 GMT

A Tory MP is boycotting a Treasury Minister’s visit to his constituency in protest at the proposed cuts to tax credits.

Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage in Hertfordshire, announced he was not going to attend David Gauke’s visit to the town as the minister “does not want to talk about the cuts to Child Tax Credits.”

Mr McPartland also posted research from the House of Commons library to his website which shows families will lose thousands from Child Tax Credits as well as Working Tax Credits from April.

Writing on his website, Mr McPartland said: "I am disappointed that Treasury Minister David Gauke, is coming to Stevenage today to talk about R&D [Research and Development] Tax Credits.

“I am boycotting the meeting and the media are not invited, as he does not want to talk about the cuts to Child Tax Credits I have uncovered.

"I voted against and have consistently spoken out about the proposed changes to Tax Credits. I have urged the Treasury to listen and introduce some form of mitigation.

Referring to the House of Commons Library figures Mr McPartland added: “This is completely unacceptable and destroys the Government's final defence that planned cuts do not apply to Child Tax Credits.”

Mr McPartland was one of two Tory MPs to vote against the Tax Credit cuts when they were put before Parliament in September. The other rebel was former leadership contender David Davis.

Reacting to Mr McPartland's boycott on BBC Radio 4's World at One programme, Treasury Minister Priti Patel called on opponents to the tax credit cuts to wait for the Autumn Statement, in which George Osborne is expected to set out transitional measures to help those affected.

Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Seema Malhotra said: “It is simply astounding that David Cameron and George Osborne’s failure to address concerns around their proposed tax credit cuts means one of their own MPs has had to protest in this way.

“This latest development comes on the day another Tory MP has suggested that George Osborne pursues a proposal similar to Labour's."

Mr McPartland’s comments come on the same day as former Prime Minister Gordon Brown claimed the proposed cuts would “diminish incentives to work.”

A number of other Tories have also spoken out against the cuts, including Heidi Allen, the Conservative MP who used her maiden speech in the Commons to damn the cuts.

She told The Huffington Post UK: "We talk about being a 'One Nation' party, that we are here for everyone, but it doesn't feel like that to those hit by this.

"What I have been over-whelmed by is the number of 'wealthy' people in my constituency that have been saying how we should be sharing the burden among those with the broadest shoulders.”

A report published today by the Work and Pensions Select Committee warned that any attempt to use increases in the income tax personal allowance or the National Living Wage "will not wash" as a solution.

The committee warned most of the current ideas about how to help families would still be "dwarfed" by the impact of the cuts.