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Working tax credits change will hit 5,000 Westcountry families

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 13, 2012

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Almost 5,000 Westcountry couples with children are set to lose around £4,000 a year unless they work significantly longer hours, new figures show.

A little-noticed change to tax credit rules means the families of almost 10,000 children will lose all of their working tax credits, according to an analysis of Government figures by Labour.

The change will "trim" the spending power of struggling families in the region by around £20 million.

From April, couples with children earning less than around £17,700 will need to increase the number of hours they work from a minimum of 16 to 24 hours per week or they will lose all their working tax credit of £3,870 per year.

Labour says working longer will be difficult during the economic downturn and points to a recent survey by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, which found that just 6% of organisations were increasing hours for workers.

Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View, where 360 households and 725 children will lose out, said the "ill thought-out move" would cause upheaval for families struggling to juggle work and childcare.

"This hits spending power and that is where the Government has got this really wrong – people will not be able to buy things or grow businesses," she added.

"There is a real risk that child poverty will be pushed up even further – it is short-sighted to take people's income away as it affects local economies."

The 18 parliamentary constituencies in Devon and Cornwall contain 4,760 households currently receiving payments for 9,510 children, a breakdown shows.

Hardest-hit is the Cornish constituency of Conservative MP George Eustice in Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, where 370 families and 780 children affected.

Torbay also contains more than 700 children affected and Plymouth's two electoral wards will see a total of 675 couples and 1,390 children hit.

In neighbouring South West Devon, the seat of Conservative MP Gary Streeter, 215 families will lose out, affecting 465 children.

Mr Streeter told the Western Morning News that the figures were "only part of the story" and cited council tax freezes and increased tax thresholds as positive moves to help "people at the bottom of the pile".

"Over the years I have had so many people saying it is ridiculous that it is kept at 16 hours a week and would enjoy the freedom of working more and building a better work pattern," he said.

"People will accept it as they accept that the public finances are in dire straits and we have to trim where we can and make the numbers stack up."

Details emerged after Government figures revealed in parliamentary answers to a shadow Treasury minister showed that 212,000 households could lose out nationwide, including 470,000 children.

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  • mike175uk  |  March 29 2012, 6:52PM

    smiling duck its people like you that give Jobseekers a bad name were all not like that. In fact I've been to a few of interviews in the last couple of weeks I rather work and feel I've done something to support my family but hours are getting tough to get but not giving up ( to all the people that work dont judge us people on jsa alot of us do try but then you do get the odd ones. god forbid you ever get made redundant )

  • bevpeirce  |  March 03 2012, 12:45PM

    but this is only for families, single parents i understand no change, so you are better off being a single parent, working, with long time partner. than in a relationship, as every time families are hit

  • vockered  |  February 21 2012, 7:13PM

    How many families have a 10,000 children?

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  • globalloon  |  February 20 2012, 7:00PM

    Slobberdan at risk of feeding the trolls this article is about benefits paid to people who work, so all your bile is misdirected.

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  • SlobberDan  |  February 20 2012, 4:31PM

    The cuts haven't really started to happen yet, all we have heard is talk. When the cuts bite then the workshy will get off their backsides.

    |   -7
  • globalloon  |  February 20 2012, 2:19PM

    If cutting benefits worked we would currently be seeing the numbers of people out of work going down, so to those who offer this as an answer, think again 3 million unemployed and rising and the best this government can offer is to have mass redundancies and cut the meagre benefits to people who still manage to find some work, while the wealthiest individuals and corporations fail to pay their taxes and are allowed to do so without consequence.

    |   9
  • gembet  |  February 20 2012, 8:15AM

    What about jobs!!!!!!!! There is none, and people who have children, employers are hesitant to take them on .

    |   11
  • SlobberDan  |  February 20 2012, 8:06AM

    Employers don't set their needs to what you want smilingduck, if you want someone to pay you YOU have to do what THEY want. Get a paper round to boost you hours, I'm sure you could manage that.

    |   -4
  • smilingduck  |  February 20 2012, 8:01AM

    northernchimp you dont know my circumstances or how many children i have so you can even work out what i would get . Going back to work doesnt work for every1 and it needs changing us on jsa need 16hrs so why now are they changing the hours on the new jobs to 15hrs a week ?

    |   -5
  • northernchimp  |  February 20 2012, 7:42AM

    You've been there smiling duck, I haven't. Directgov suggests differently. Maybe you weren't getting what you were entitled to.

    |   1