One of Labour’s most senior Shadow Treasury Ministers this morning refused to confirm if her party would reverse the tax credit cuts if in government.
Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning, Shadow Chief Secretary To The Treasury Seema Malhotra was quizzed on whether Labour would reinstate the tax credits set to be axed by the Tories.
The policy, announced by Chancellor George Osborne in July, will leave three million families more than a thousand pounds a year worse off, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies.
Labour has arranged on Opposition Day Debate on the cuts for Tuesday in the House of Commons, and Ms Malhotra today urged Tory MPs to join her party in voting against the changes.
Despite criticising the policy, and comparing it to the unpopular Poll Tax which paved the way for the downfall of Margaret Thatcher in 1990, Ms Malhotra five times refused to say if Labour would actually reverse the cuts if it was elected to Government in 2020.
Ms Malhotra said: “We have asked him [George Osborne] to reverse that, we have said that this cut should not go forward and I’ll tell you why: because this is a cut to hard-working families who are doing absolutely the right thing. It is a work penalty…”
Shadow International Development Secretary Diane Abbott also refused to say if Labour would reverse the tax credit cuts during an appearance on the BBC’s This Week show.
Presenter Andrew Neil four times asked Ms Abbott if Labour would undo the Tory changes, but the Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP could not provide a yes or no answer.
Ms Abbott said: “You will have to look at John McDonnell’s fiscal mandate in the totality but we will certainly not be balancing the books on the shoulders of the working poor.”
The tax credit cuts will come into force from next April, with those affected expected to receive letters before Christmas informing them of the changes to their take home pay.
During the BBC debate show Question Time on Thursday, an audience member was on the verge of tears as she lambasted Tory Minister Amber Rudd over the changes.
Michelle Dorrell said: "I voted for Conservatives originally, cos I thought you were going to be the better chance for me and my children. You're about to cut tax credits after promising you wouldn't,"
"I work bloody hard for my money. To provide for my children to give them everything they've got - and you're going to take it away from me and them.
"I can hardly afford the rent I've got to pay, I can hardly afford the bills I've got to do, and you're going to take more than me."
Today, Ms Malhotra described the tax credit cuts as “a turning point in peoples’ trust in George Osborne.”