Campaigners warn of impact of tax credit freeze
Groups representing parents have warned that any cuts in working tax credits in tomorrow's autumn statement will increase child poverty.
Single parents campaigners Gingerbread warned the Chancellor of the Exchequer "not to make single parents and their children foot the bill for the economic crisis" as reports suggested money for the Government's recently announced apprenticeship programme would come from freezing tax credits.
Fiona Weir, Chief Executive of Gingerbread, said: “Stories of a freeze on tax credits or a raid on benefits have single parent families nervous. With a flatlining job market and rocketing prices, single parent families cannot afford to take any more cuts.
“In last year’s Spending Review, the Chancellor pledged his actions would not increase child poverty. If he can’t say the same about today’s statement, it will be bad news for families. Children should not be made to pay for the financial crisis.”
Gingerbread says 36% of all single parents are Working Tax Credit claimants, compared to just 15% of couples with children, meaning that single parents are twice as likely to be in the WTC group as couples with children.
The 4Children charity urged the Chancellor to examine how a revision of the tax credit system might affect families with low incomes.
Anne Longfield OBE, Chief Executive of 4Children, said: “Any intention by the Chancellor to freeze tax credits for low income families at a time when the Government is trying to encourage people back to work could be counter-productive.
“On a daily basis we hear how ordinary families face falling incomes and rising prices, and those who rely on tax credits are already struggling to make ends meet. The coalition government is committed to helping families, but with inflation running around 5%, a proposed cut to tax credits would be a further real terms cut in family incomes.
“A freeze on tax credits could make it harder for low income families to sustain themselves in work and stay off benefits. Such a move would clearly fail the government’s much vaunted ‘family test’ and its commitment to become the most family-friendly country in Europe. We hope the Chancellor reconsiders the matter.”