Bury St Edmunds mum calls on town’s MP to help stop controversial tax credit cuts

Jo Churchill
Jo Churchill

A Bury St Edmunds mother is among hundreds of residents urging the town’s MP to help stop the Government’s controversial cuts to tax credits.

More than 300 people in Bury have signed a petition by campaign group 38 Degrees calling on MP Jo Churchill to oppose plans to slash spending on tax credits, which they say will ‘punish people on low wages who work hard’. The Government says that measures such as a National Living Wage will compensate the cuts.

Single mum Heather, from Bury, who wants her surname withheld, would be affected as she receives £96.23 a week in child tax credits.

If this were cut, she says the impact on her and her two children, aged nine and 11, would be ‘huge’. She said: “I use the money for the children’s clothes, shoes, school uniform and to pay for school trips and any extra-curricular activities they do. These activities give my children opportunities to improve themselves and I consider them to be an investment in their future.”

Working in the public sector, she says she has not had a pay rise for some time and life is ‘really hard’ with the rising cost of living.

Heather said: “I earn more than the National Living Wage, yet as a single parent cannot afford holidays or many luxuries, let alone a home of my own.

“I couldn’t afford to rent privately so have bought a house together with my mother, who is also my main child-carer.

“I don’t believe that anyone earning the national minimum wage will be any better off if tax credits are cut.

“My message to Jo Churchill and George Osborne [Chancellor] is please stop cutting money that is there to help the less well off in society. I and many others like me work extremely hard, but I still only earn enough to survive.”

Amy Lockwood, of 38 Degrees, added: “George Osborne’s plans will punish people on low wages who work hard but still don’t have enough to make ends meet.”

Mrs Churchill said: “I appreciate the concern around the changes. What underpins the need to reform is the £30 billion cost of tax credits – over 10 times its original estimate and the third largest cost to the welfare bill.

“The aim is to incentivise work and protect the most vulnerable. Ultimately, the full extent of the proposed changes for individuals is as yet, not clear.

“Other changes to the welfare system and the raising of personal tax allowances are designed to ensure the system is fair.

“Where there appears to be issues I am challenging my Government to ensure that these considerations are taken into effect.”

The petition can be found here