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Why we must stop the Tories hitting the most vulnerable

October 31, 2015 11:46 AM
By Tim Farron MP in The Mirror

Tim FarronThe Tory tax credit cuts will leave poor kids in low-paid jobs and could drive up poverty, writes Tim Farron

Last week Liberal Democrat peers sent a clear signal to David Cameron and George Osborne: "think again on plans to slash tax credits."

Sadly Labour wouldn't support our move to scrap the cuts altogether, but we joined with them to force a delay.

It isn't ideal, but it is a chance to tell the government it should improve its plans.

These cuts to tax credits hit people exclusively on low pay .

People who are doing the right thing- who are working - but in low paid work.

People who find themselves having to plan their spending carefully- who get to the end of the month and are having to watch where every penny goes.

These are simply the wrong people for the Conservatives to be taking money from.

When we were in Government we worked to improve the welfare system and support people back into work if they were able to do so.

And once people did have a job we understood it was crucial to ensure work paid.

That is why we forced the Conservatives to cut taxes for low and middle earners, when their own instincts were to focus tax cuts on the wealthiest.

Under the Coalition's plans for Universal Credit, 300,000 children would have been lifted out of poverty.

By cutting tax credits for people who are in low paid work Cameron and Osborne risk undoing all that.

Almost 5 million children will be hit by cuts to tax credits.

We don't know what impact this will have on the number of children in poverty, but we must do before these cuts can be made.

That is why I have written to Alan Milburn, who is Chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, to ask for an assessment on what the government's plans will do to levels of child poverty in the UK

We believe it is a choice to cut tax credits, and a choice that Conservatives have got wrong.

During the election the Tories said they wanted to cut £12bn off welfare.

But they wouldn't say where they were coming from.

Trying to pin them down on that was like a twisted version of Deal or No Deal, but with the income of millions of people on low wages.

What we are now seeing is the true extent of how dangerous this pure-Conservative government is.Funnily enough, you can't cut £12bn from welfare without hurting some of the most vulnerable people.

Liberal Democrats will not stand by and let the Conservatives pass measures that are targeted on the poorest in our society.

That is why I make no apology for using our power in the House of Lords to block these cruel plans

Tim Farron MP is the leader of the Liberal Democrats