Since being elected, I have worked hard to support better paid jobs in Cornwall. While there is more work to do, the economy is improving, with more people of all ages in employment now than 2010 and wages are rising. Just under 70% of people working in Cornwall are in full time employment.
However, our government is still spending significantly more each year than it raises in taxes. It cannot carry on doing so indefinitely and pass on the deficit to our children to sort out.
The welfare budget is the biggest single element of government spending. If we don’t make savings in this budget, all the deficit cutting will fall on public services like the NHS, schools and the police. That’s not right, which is why our manifesto said that we would find £12 billion of the £30 billion of savings required from the welfare budget.
The three largest elements of the welfare budget are the state pension, disability benefits and tax credits. We don’t believe it would be right to cut the state pension or disability benefits.
So what is the case for cutting tax credits? Tax credits were introduced to help people in low paid work, but by the time Labour left office 90% of working families were eligible for them. The last Government took this down to 6 in 10 and after these Budget changes it will be 5 in 10.
Tax credits also allow employers to pay their staff less than they need to make ends meet, knowing that the taxpayer will top salaries up.
I support reducing spending on tax credits, if at the same time, we take action to ensure people are paid a living wage and pay less tax on what they earn. That is exactly what the Government is doing.
Published by West Briton.