British Chancellor George Osborne is facing mounting pressure from within his own party to reconsider controversial plans to cut tax credits for working families.
Andrew Mitchell, a former Cabinet minister said the plans to cut £4.4bn from the welfare bill by reducing tax credit payments to more than three million families could be “tweaked”. He said that he expected Mr Osborne would keep an “open mind” on the issue.
The Independent reports:
Many Conservative MPs are concerned that the cuts will hurt the party’s claim to support the working poor. Labour has branded the cuts a “work penalty” and compared their likely political impact to the poll tax.
Mr Mitchell said that the “very tough measure” was necessary but pointed out that Mr Osborne still had time to make changes in next month’s spending review.
Critics say the cuts, which come into effect in April, could leave some of Britain’s poorest families £1,300 worse off annually.
Seema Malhotra, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, urged Tory MPs concerned about the impact on families to join Labour in opposing the reforms during a Commons debate on the issue on Tuesday.
“I hope that they will because they will have had representations from thousands of families in their constituencies,” she told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme, adding that the cuts represented a “turning point in people’s trust in George Osborne”.