Speaking after the election, David Cameron told the nation that his government would be on the side of those 'who work hard.' But six months on a very different story is emerging. And it is the incomes of hard-working families that are to be hit once again. Next April, three million low to middle income households face a savage cut to their incomes - the equivalent in some cases of more than 10% of their take home pay. A contract cleaner recently burst into tears when she realised what the changes meant for her family, and I am sadly not short of other heartbreaking stories.
We are very worried the cuts to tax credits put a further barrier in place for these single parents who want to support their families in work. Because if upping your hours, or winning that promotion means you lose more tax credit cuts than you gain in pay, taking that next step might not make financial sense.
On Tuesday the House of Commons will vote on the rather boringly named 'Tax Credits (Income Thresholds and Determination of Rates) (Amendment) Regulations 2015'. This won't be a debate you'll see being carried live on TV, it may even pass by without mention, but for millions of people it will have a serious impact on their income and quality of life. That's because these regulations make major changes to the tax credit system on which many families rely in order to make ends meet... The Conservative Party once promised not to balance the books on the back of the poor but sadly that is exactly what they appear to be doing now. As Liberal Democrats we will stand up to this injustice.
We seem to be harking back to a time when we thought teenage girls had babies to get council flats. Unlike me, the Chancellor has obviously never pushed out a 10lb 10oz baby and endured 15 odd stitches. Let me tell you it would take a lot more than an extra £25 quid a week to make me do that again. I think I'd turn down a Euromillions windfall in fact!
Today George Osborne sets out his first budget as Chancellor in a majority Conservative Government. Talk is cheap - now is the time to put to the test his claim that the Tory party can really be the party of working people. After all the extensive briefing, it's not looking good for George Osborne's claims for his Party... For all the rhetoric, too many of the Tories' policies remain anti-working people. A real agenda for working people today based on Labour values would mean not just the long overdue increases in the minimum wage, but strong incentives for the living wage, continued support for tax credits, a plan for a childcare revolution to support working parents.
As the Budget approaches we await the details of deep cuts in welfare spending, but the fact that they are coming is beyond doubt. Every sinew is being strained in the cause of deficit reduction. Or is it? Largely absent from public debate to date is the more than £100billion that goes each year into tax reliefs - lower taxes for particular groups or activities.
Tory guru Steve Hilton has had a revelation: low pay causes poverty. From one Steve to another, welcome to the real world. But as your party is about to unveil its first full blue-blooded Tory Budget in 19 years you need to think a bit more about what - and who - drives poverty in this country... The scale of cuts - the deepest yet to our public services and benefits - will hit all but the very wealthiest. Women, the disabled, the low-waged, those not in work, those who need help with ever-spiralling housing costs and children will not be spared.