Low paid workers will be hit hardest by the Westminster budget, despite a planned increase in the minimum wage, SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood has said.
The Derry Assemblyman added: “While the introduction of a ‘compulsory living wage’ to £9 per hour by 2020 may appear positive, it will go nowhere near to offsetting the raft of cuts which are targeting our lowest paid workers.
“When you take away all the spin, the reality is that this budget will leave earners, who are already struggling to support their families, much worse off due to cuts in the tax credit system.
“Tax credits provide a financial lifeline for many of my hard working constituents and this budget will hit them hardest. Those families who depend on tax credits now face a triple hit due to this budget as the threshold at which households can be awarded the full amount of tax credit is to be halved, annual payment increases are to be frozen for four years and the number of children for which child tax credits can be claimed is to be cruelly limited to two.”
Mr. Eastwood says many people who receive tax credits are already struggling to make ends meet and the new budget leaves them facing very difficult decisions over how to pay the bills and put food on the table.
“Tax credit cuts in this budget will pull the rug from underneath the feet of people trying to earn a living by working to support their families not least here in Derry,” he added.
“The chancellor introduced his measures as ‘balanced and fair’ but, in reality, they are a direct attack on some of the most vulnerable families in our society.”