"Merry Christmas, your tax credits are getting cut from April", will be the news 3.3 million families receive in a few months, leaving them with losses of around £1,300 a year. Even with the increase in pay making up for a quarter of the impact, we're still looking at an average loss of around £1,000 for working families with children earning under £20,000, which signals that ministers claiming the rise in the National Living Wage will balance the impact of the cuts are making a lazy justification to try and justify sacrificing the needs of the hard-working poor to serve themselves.
This is an easy cut to make for those who don't have to make a choice between heating their home and making ends meet; Russell Howard's Good News reminded us in its latest episode that MPs were given the go ahead for a 10% pay rise to £74,000 earlier this year. But apparently MPs are being paid to laugh during debates in the House of Commons; earlier this week Kwarsi Kwarteng was caught loudly laughing during the debate over the Chancellor's £4.4bn tax credit cuts. This is the same joker who made the suggestion that Job Seekers Allowance should be paid as a loan to those who haven't been contributing taxes for long, as an incentive for job seekers to find work so their debt doesn't accumulate. What an insightful idea, I'd better stop sitting around and find a job - hang on a minute, the job market isn't quite that simple. Perhaps giving more help to those seeking work would be more beneficial than suggesting adding financial pressure to those already in crisis?
But it appears social justice is not at the forefront of Cameron and Osborne's minds, as the cuts to tax credits will affect the poorest third of the population most strongly over the next five years. I fail to believe that senior Conservative figures such as former Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell speak with sincerity when he speaks of being sure that the Chancellor is keeping an open mind and that the measures are tough, when his overall opinion is that the cuts are necessary and will be "greatly compensated" by other changes in the welfare and tax system. I would encourage him to expand on his wishes for "individual treatment" through the Department of Work and Pensions for those affected by extending that to considering the study by the Resolution Foundation think-tank that found that 200,000 children will fall into poverty immediately after the implementation of the cuts.
Hitting deficit targets by making £12billion welfare cuts that will impact hard-working families across the nation, then making sloppy justifications that can be refuted by carrying out a little research, makes me understand how Tory MPs can sit and laugh in debates - it's easy to laugh in the face of social justice when you don't have to go home and decide whether your money will go on feeding your family or keeping them warm for the night.