The Conservatives are on the back foot. Their attempt to push through cuts to Tax Credits hasn’t gone the way they planned. There’s been widespread opposition – even sections of their own party coming out against it. Their spin about cutting tax credits but raising the minimum wage has fooled no one, they have had to admit the cuts will leave millions of families worse off. Yesterday the Tax Credits bill was defeated in the House of Lords and it looks likely to face further opposition. On this issue the Tories are weak and we will be organising a mass campaign until it’s defeated.
Chancellor George Osborne will “lessen” the impact of tax credit cuts on families after peers inflicted a serious blow on the government by demanding changes.
He promised “transitional help” for those affected after his party was defeated twice in the House of Lords.
But he vowed to press on with changes designed to save billions from welfare.
Downing Street has signalled a review of Lords conventions to address what it says are “constitutional issues
The People’s Assembly are calling a National Day of Action on Tuesday 24 November, the day before George Osborne delivers his Autumn Statement. We want the whole country to join protests, rallies, meetings and direct actions. More details to follow – if you can organise an event or action in your area please get in touch with the office. Last week we put out a call for people to tell us how they’ll be affected by cuts to Tax Credits. We’ve had hundreds of stories come in, below is just a handful. If you are being affected tell us how: email firstname.lastname@example.org
The People’s Assembly Against Austerity
“I am being directly affected. I am a single mother and work full time and receive about £21k. I have calculated I shall be about £2,000 a year worse off. I have worked so hard to bring up my daughter on my own since 2001. I have been single since she was 3 months old so for all that time I have needed support while at work. Most well paid jobs incur long hours and weekend work. You just cannot do that when you have a child to support. My daughter is also autistic so it has meant me taking a lot of unpaid time out of work in order to attend hospital appointments etc. I was working for a company for 7 years, they made me redundant in order to use cheap labour in India. I have got increasingly into debt because of the expensive child care.The stress of robbing Peter to pay Paul for the last 15 years has taken a terrible toll on my health and now it is going to be even worse.”
“I will be over £1000 worse off with the new changes to tax credits. My family will be affected in a variety of ways, mainly not having the buffer we need to pay when our (donated) car needs repairs, the house needs maintenance which is not covered by the landlord and my daughter has a growth spurt and needs her clothes replacing.
In order to prepare for this, I have invested in a freezer so I can stop buying fresh vegetables and move over to cheaper frozen food. Scrimping on healthy food is not something I ever imagined I would have to do, however this is what will be happening as a result of these cuts.”
“I have worked incredibly hard all my life I did my degree while working and raising two children. I finally have a job I enjoy which allows me to work part time and be there for my children (there is only me). I don’t just work as a manager of a charity I also have what I consider to be the most important job in the world, raising my 2 children, who one day want to become a teacher and a police officer.
In April I will lose £150 per month, I am not on minimum wage so will not see the benefit of increased pay, the higher tax threshold will see me gain £80 per YEAR!! Losing £1800 but gaining £80, whoopee doo! I will try and remember that Mr Cameron the next time I am lying awake worrying what I’m going to do in April. I am sure that I would be told to work full time but that would involve leaving the job I love, which I’m good at and sacrificing the irreplaceable family time I have with my daughters. What happens if I can’t find a full time job with a salary that will cover the cost of this cut and what should I do with my children Mr Cameron? You see, my daughters are 10 and 13 too young to be left alone while I work a 40 hour week and too old to be put in a crèche (oh did I mention I couldn’t afford the childcare anyway as the voucher scheme is also incredibly flawed when you read the small print). Please enlighten me Mr Cameron I am genuinely interested on what you would recommend I do to survive and continue raising the teachers and police that this country relies on. Please can I kindly and respectfully ask that you do not give me the same answer as I think my circumstances and millions of others prove that what you say is wrong. What would it take for you to acknowledge our voice Mr Cameron? How many millions have to speak before you listen? Finally I heard one of your MPs talk tonight on channel 4 news saying it is morally reprehensible to keep spending money, is it not also morally reprehensible, hypocritical and downright unfair to introduce less taxes for the wealthy while hitting the less well off in society. I put it to you that what you’re running Mr Cameron isn’t a democracy but a gradual return to feudalism!”
“I will be affected tremendously through these vicious cuts. I live in quite a remote area, I have no transport as I don’t drive therefore work has been hard to obtain. After signing on for JSA for 3 years with no hope of finding suitable employment, I signed off and went self employed having only tax credits of £52 per week to support myself with until I could start earning any money from my business. Now 6 years on I have not progressed much further due to the constant demands for high utility charges, council tax and ever increasing costs of day to day living which exceeds the £52 tax credits I receive, making it impossible to find the necessary funds to advertise my business in order to generate more work.
I am aware that there is an agenda to keep most of us in debt slavery, and this cut in tax credits is a very cynical move to deliberately make people’s lives harder. I am also aware that the people who push these agendas do not need our money but use money as a tool to keep us enslaved. Should I receive a drastic cut in my tax credits this will surely lead to me to be unable to keep up with such things as council tax and/or utility bills and will render me, having no criminal record and leading a good, honest life, a criminal which will leave me liable for prosecution and even imprisonment.
My name is Roy. I am a self employed musician. Being a musician in this country is difficult because it is an underrated and underpaid profession, despite being widely required. I have had to rely on help from tax credits for a while now to keep afloat of bills and rent. My tax credits have recently been halved making life even harder. This situation is made ridiculous when George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself, made taxpayers pay the £100,000 interest on the re-mortgaging of his 2nd home which he already owns outright.
“My ex-husband left me and our children, aged 4,6 & 8 to marry another women. My husband’s contributions to the family income were pitifully low, due to the fact that he was self employed and paid himself a minimal salary. The children barely saw their Dad, my sister who lived 2 hours away was busy with her own family and my parents lived abroad and needed financial help themselves. I did not hitch myself up with another man, I did not find it right for the children’s stability.
Despite all this, I managed, and my children thrived. Thanks to tax credits the children were able to still do after school activities and have music lessons. We were able to see a play once a year in London and do many other educational things that would have been denied us otherwise. We were also able to benefit from a laptop the government offered to families on low incomes to support their children’s school work.
My children therefore had a stable upbringing, they were high achievers at school and they will contribute to this society in a positive and compassionate way.”
I am really concerned about single parents in the future who have to go through bringing up children on their own. Legal aid has been cut, tax credits reduced and the CSA refuses point blank to help beyond their basic duties.”
“My husband and I will be affected by the tax credit cuts. My husband works full time and I am studying a BSc part-time. We have two young children. Our financial situation has taken a toll on my mental health this year (I needed hospitalization). The fears of giving my children everything they need combined with the pressures on my time of study and parenting was topped off with an accident on my bike involving a long neglected pothole. I remember staring at the Houses of Parliament before I jumped into the Thames feeling completely dejected and alienated from the ‘psychos in suits’ that waft in and out of the building my son cherishes. The complete ignorance and complete indifference Cameron, Osborne and his cronies unleash in mine and other people’s lives with their self interested decision making reinforced the darkness in my mind, only within view of that building did I have the guts to count to 3 and jump.
I was lucky that cold March night, the thought of my son innocently asleep in his bed awaiting what might have been the worst news kick started my survival instinct and somehow I managed to haul myself out of the water onto a barge before the cold killed me.
I was found the next morning.
I feel at present like we live in the age of the ‘survival of the most psychopathic’, they are certainly represented in the Houses of Parliament. Those hell bent on ruthlessly exploiting others do best, while those who care about their family, believe in social justice and care about the environment are simply crushed in the stampede of those following corporate interest, like a pack a squealing pigs. It’s sad and my depression earlier this year drove me to question why I ever had kids, when civil unrest rises, the security once afforded by a resilient NHS is destroyed, environmental degradation that will shape their (and their kids) future is ruled out as ‘inconvenient’ and corporate interest erodes their quality of life.”