Parliament has voted: must charities take up the slack?

Posted On: 
16th September 2015

Simon Hopkins, Chief Executive ofTurn2us, comments on yesterday'svote on tax credits means poor families 'are going to get poorer'.

Yesterday's vote in the House of Commons will mean one thing for many of the poorest working families in the UK; they are going to get poorer. Tax credits are a vital source of income for those on a low wage and for many they make up a substantial portion of their monthly income. Yet as a result of today’s vote that will all change on 6th April 2016 with some households losing out on more than £1,000 in annual income.

Increases in the ‘National Living Wage’ soften the blow slightly, albeit on a gradual basis. Tax thresholds may further help those earning over £10,000, but these will be of little consolation to those on more modest pay packets. You don’t have to be an economist to see that if you take away with one hand more than you give with the other, there will be families who quite simply have less to exist on. This is what is going to happen to those struggling on low wages up and down the country next year.

But the wheels have now been set in motion on these changes and we must all look to see what can be done to limit their impact. Undoubtedly, charities will yet again be forced to take up the slack.

The measures passed today make no mention of the single mother working every hour that she can, yet taking home only £7,000 a year. Government claims that the policy will increase an individual’s resolve to pursue meaningful employment won’t mean much to her as she tries to work out how she is going pay the rent at the end of the month. Many charities will step in – it’s what we do.  But it is not automatically our job, at least it shouldn’t be.

Only by providing practical support can we help those in genuine need, whether that’s by way of welfare benefits, tax credits or charitable grants. That is why I would urge anyone concerned about the impact that these changes may have to visit Turn2us.org.uk to find out what support is there.