Thousands of Hartlepool families to be hit by benefit cuts in Budget, claims children’s charity

George Osborne
George Osborne
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More than 7,000 families would be hit in the pocket if plans to cut tax credits go ahead during the Budget tomorrow, a leading charity says.

Children’s campaign charity Barnardo’s is warning that 62.3% of families in Hartlepool could be left struggling if plans to cut tax credits go ahead.

Tax credits are an everyday lifeline for British families.

Javed Khan

Barnardo’s has calculated that about 7,500 of Hartlepool families, which contain 13,700 of the town’s children, use tax credits to top up low incomes - helping them buy essentials such as food and clothing for the family.

It comes as the charity launches a campaign calling on the Government to keep the “lifeline” benefit.

It is urging politicians not to cut tax credits, following signals from the Government that it will reduce these benefits as part of a plan to axe £12billion from the welfare bill –with some families possibly losing the benefit completely.

The plans are expected to be announced in this week’s Budget.

Tax credits, which include child tax credits and working tax credits, were introduced in 1998 as a response to rising child poverty, caused by low wages and high living costs. Since the introduction of tax credits, the number of children living in poverty in the UK has fallen from 35 per cent to 19 per cent.

Successive governments have said the benefit is a crucial tool in keeping thousands of children out of hardship.

Barnardo’s, as part of End Child Poverty, is campaigning to halt plans to change tax credits.

It says the Government should instead focus on tackling the low wages and high living costs that drive hardship among families.

It is asking Hartlepool residents to email their local MPs. To support the campaign, visit www.barnardos.org.uk

Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan, said: “Without this income, many parents could not afford their weekly food shopping, let alone school uniforms and books.

“With low wages and high-living costs stretching budgets across the country, tax credits are an everyday lifeline for British families.

“Children who grow up poor are more likely to be ill, do worse at school and be jobless in future.

“If as a society we fail to invest in children now, we will all bear the costs in the future.

“Families would be better off if the Government focused on tackling low wages and high childcare costs, instead of cutting struggling families income.”

George Osborne’s first Conservative-only Budget is expected to go further in capping welfare payments than the proposed £23,000-a-year household limit in its election manifesto.