Union joins family welfare groups to ask for postponement of government plans

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A group of national family welfare organisations together with Usdaw is today meeting MPs at Westminster to ask the government to postpone a change to the proposed tax credits system that would leave working families £4,000 worse off.

Currently, couples can receive tax credits if they have at least 16 hours of work, but from next month April this will change to 24 hours. A survey conducted by Usdaw of their members found that 78% of those affected say they are unable to get the additional hours from their employer. A survey of employers by Working Families has found that only 17% are confident of being able to meet the requests for the extra hours their employees need.

Usdaw, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), Barnardo’s, Church Action on Poverty, Contact a Family and Working Families have made the following joint statement:

“When this policy was designed, the economy was expected to be back into strong growth by now with much better working opportunities. But the sad fact faced by thousands of families is that the economy is not yet recovered and their employers don’t have the additional working hours to give.

“There are almost half a million children in the families affected, who stand to be plunged into deep poverty if the extra hours of work cannot be found. It would be reckless to press ahead now with this change which will have such devastating consequences for families and risk a surge in child poverty.

“We are simply asking the government to postpone this change for 18 months until more work is available and the system of Universal Credit is in place.  We hope that before making a final decision, the Prime Minister and Chancellor will listen to the problems couples are facing in finding extra hours of work, and the consequences of the loss of nearly £4,000 from families only just getting by at the moment on incomes around £18,000.”

As well as writing to the Prime Minister and Chancellor, the union has also invited all MPs to a meeting at Westminster at 9.30am today to hear speakers from several organisations explain why they are calling for the change to be postponed.


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