Dawn speaks on the Tax Credit Debate on 20 October 2015
I congratulate the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Heidi Allen) on her passionate maiden speech—Government Front Benchers were visibly cringing with each word.
Michelle Dorrell, who appeared on the BBC’s “Question Time” last week, is one of the one in four people who now regret voting Tory. With tears in her eyes, she explained that she felt she had been misled by the Government. They are taking from the poor and making them suffer, and it is a false economy. On 19 April 2015the right hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove) said of tax credits,
“we are going to freeze them for two years; we are not going to cut them”.
The spirit of deception goes on. The minimum wage has been renamed the living wage. Ministers claim that the cuts in tax credits will be offset by the increase in the minimum wage. Like all good cons, there is a grain of truth in that, because the cuts could be offset, but not until 2020. The cliché about hard-working families who did not cause the crash having to pay for it is unfortunately true. In Brent, 64% of families receive tax credits, which means 13,600 households will be affected by these changes. We know that there is a problem when The Sun—not a left-leaning newspaper in anyone’s imagination—starts a campaign about the cuts.
Conservative MPs have an opportunity tonight to listen to their conscience, vote with us and send a message to their Front Benchers that this is not right and this is not fair. If you fail to do that, shame on you.
Does the Minister think that the 1% pay cap on public sector workers contradicts the Government’s policy for a high-wage economy?
Damian Hinds - The Exchequer Secretary:
I do not deny that pay restraint in the public sector is difficult, but that 1% restraint has also protected 200,000 jobs in the public sector, which is an important aim. In addition, since 2007-08, pay in the public sector has risen faster than in the private.