‘Complete disregard’: Oldham MP warns child poverty will rise under Tory tax credit cuts

Child poverty will rise in Greater Manchester if the Tory tax credit cut goes ahead, Oldham MP Debbie Abrahams has warned.

The MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth has said that working families stand to lose an average of £1,300 per year if the Government go ahead and implement the cuts in April 2016.

The tax credit cuts will be particularly unwelcome in Oldham, where the percentage of children in families receiving tax credits is much higher than the national average of 55%.

It stands at 66% in Oldham East and Saddleworth and 82% Oldham West and Royton, placing Oldham within the top 20 local authorities with the highest levels of child poverty.

Speaking after the Opposition Day debate on Tuesday this week, Ms Abrahams said: “Despite what they say the Tories are not the party that supports working families.

“The fact that David Cameron and George Osborne are determined to push through the tax credit cuts shows their complete disregard for the mountain of independent evidence pointing to the damage they will do to millions of working families.”

She said that the cuts would affect around 15,500 families and approximately 28,000 children in the Oldham constituencies, with over 600,000 children in the North West being affected.

It is reported in an analysis by the Resolution Foundation that the child tax credit cuts will plunge a UK-wide total of 200,000 children into poverty in 2016.

Food banks, who have already been feeling the strain of increasing demand over the past few years, are preparing for potential further increase should the cuts go ahead.

Andrew Barr, Manager of Oldham Food Bank, said: “Last year we fed 1,620 children.

“One of the things with the tax credit cuts is that we’ve had a few people that have come in and we’ve helped that have expressed concern that they don’t know what they’re going to do because they are struggling to make ends meet as it is.

“With the reduced income and no immediate prospect of increased pay, the concern is that they’re going to be stuck in a hole that they can’t get out of.”

Mr Barr highlighted the problems with poverty in the Greater Manchester area, with some of the most deprived areas of Oldham falling within the bottom 2% of the indices of multiple depravation, and more across Greater Manchester in the bottom 10%.

He added: “We see families that come in where there are parents that are struggling to send children to school because they haven’t got any shoes for them.

“That’s almost Victorian; to think that we’re the fifth richest economy in the world, it’s a sad reflection.”

This comes after David Cameron, speaking at the Tory party conference, called for ‘an all out assault on poverty’.

On the Question Time Election Special, David Dimbleby asked Mr Cameron whether the Conservatives would be cutting child tax credits.

Cameron answered: “We have increased child tax credits.”

Debbie Abrahams has said that the Conservatives have ‘broken their pre-election promise to working families’ and will be leading an event outside Spindles shopping centre in Oldham to highlight the effect of tax credit cuts.

The event will begin at 12 noon on Saturday October 24. 

Related Articles