Ulster Unionist Social Development Spokesperson, Roy Beggs MLA, has warned that Northern Ireland will be particularly affected by the UK Government’s changes to tax credits given the lower than average local wages. The East Antrim MLA was speaking after an Assembly debate on the matter.
Roy Beggs said:
“I am alarmed that the scheduled cuts to tax credits will leave many low income families, often described as working poor, worse off from next April.
“In fact, in a paper produced by NISRA, the Social Security Agency and the Department of Social Development, it was revealed just how significant the scale of the changes will be. The average reduction following the tax credit changes will be £17.60 a week, or almost £1,000 a year.
“The Ulster Unionist Party believes work should always pay. Unfortunately however the Government’s proposed changes to tax credits directly counters that goal, and instead is likely to adversely affect families on low incomes.
“Worryingly however, given the scale of cuts to tax credits, I am concerned that even with the national minimum wage and the increase to the income tax threshold, thousands of families will not be equally rewarded.
“A number of influential Conservative Party members, including David Willets MP, have acknowledged the dangers in what has been proposed. It is essential that David Cameron listens to the growing swell of dissent from his own Party and intervenes to change what has been proposed.”