Tax Cuts before Tax Credits

Marlyn Glen

26 March 2012

In 2003, Michael Portillo, erstwhile aspirant to lead the Tory Party , took part in a BBC “reality “ TV programme entitled “My Week My World” .

It featured senior politicians taking on the jobs and lives of everyday people to see how they could cope with its stresses.

Mr. Portillo’s task was to look after 4 young children while also deputising for their mother as a classroom assistant and working in ASDA.

All of this was to be done within a family budget of £80 a week.

BBC noted that Mr. Portillo said that his week’s work “was harder than anything he had faced in the Commons.”

Next month, life will become intolerably harder for hundreds of families in Dundee as the Tory Government introduces changes that will take away from them  almost £80 a week of working tax credits unless they increase their working hours by half.

Over 430 families and 760 children in the city will be affected.

These are the couples earning less than some £17,700 a year who benefit from Working Tax Credit and work between 16 and 24 hours a week.

The Tories have ordained that unless they increase the number of hours by 50 per cent, the tax credits will be withdrawn. 

To find extra hours of work in a collapsed economy is difficult, particularly in a city such as Dundee which already has the highest percentage of those working part-time in mainland Scotland.

The difficulty of finding extra hours escalates when we consider the number of those already “underemployed” in Dundee – those seeking extra hours of work – 5,200, or 1 in 10 of the working population.

Working Families is a major charity in the field of work-life balance.

It reports that just only 17% of employers were confident that they could accommodate  requests for an additional  eight hours of work.

It commented,

“The change to  the Working Tax Credit rules are harsh.

"Parents will find that it is no longer worth staying in work.

“Many of our callers have one parent (often the mother) in a part time job, struggling to make ends meet after the other parent has been made redundant.

“It isn’t for want of trying that these parents can’t get more work.

 “Our survey shows employers can’t offer them what they need to stay out of poverty.”

An acknowledgement of the actual day-to-day experience of  such families is a very rare commodity in the Tory Party.

And so, at the opposite end of the social scale, in a world of different lifestyles, expectations and opportunities, millionaires are deemed by the Tories  to be in need of a tax cut windfall.

As the Party of the Wealthy, the Tories will continue to deliver for them.


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