Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South is backing shopworkers union Usdaw and national charities campaigning against the £3,870 ‘Tax Credits Bombshell’ that the Government is set to drop on 6 April. In just a few weeks’ time, couples with children who currently work between 16 and 24 hours a week will have to increase their hours of work to 24 hours a week, or face losing a staggering £3,870 in tax credits.
Dame Anne said, “The Government doesn’t seem to realise that extra hours of work, or alternative jobs are just not available for most people at the moment because unemployment is so high and many employers are having to cut costs.
“Yet the Government plan to punish families on low incomes who can’t find extra hours of work by taking nearly £4,000 from them in just a few weeks’ time. This is an enormous amount for anyone to lose, and will mean families losing their homes, struggling to afford even food and fuel costs.”
John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary thanks Dame Anne for her support, saying, “Nationally, over 200,000 couples with 470,000 children will be affected by these changes to tax credit rules, meaning nearly half a million more children could end up in poverty in April because of the actions of this Government.
“When Universal Credit is introduced in 18 months’ time, there will be no rules for minimum hours of work. So these families are being forced into hardship for 18 months in a way that will bring no long-term benefit to the taxpayer.”
If you are concerned that you may be affected by the changes:
1. Find out if you are affected – ring the tax credits helpline on 0845 300 3900
2. If you need to find extra work, ask your employer or at the Job Centre.
3. Make sure you are getting the support you are entitled to. See the online Benefits Advisor on the Direct Gov website to check: www.direct.gov.uk
4. Let me know how these changes to tax credits will affect you and your family – please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.