Hartlepool MP welcomes Lords opposition to tax credit changes

The results of the vote by the House of Lords to an amendment put down by independent crossbench peer Baroness Meacher to delay controversial cuts to tax credits is read out in the House of Lords.
The results of the vote by the House of Lords to an amendment put down by independent crossbench peer Baroness Meacher to delay controversial cuts to tax credits is read out in the House of Lords.

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright has welcomed a Government defeat over controversial plans to cut tax credits for millions of working families.

Chancellor George Osborne was forced to announce he would set out plans in the Autumn Statement next month to soften the blow for claimants hit by the reforms after suffering a double defeat in the House of Lords on Monday night.

“I’m pleased that the Lords have voted to make George Osborne think again,” said Mr Wright.

“The cutting of tax credits affects thousands of workers, families and children in Hartlepool. The Government’s proposals penalise working people and hit hard those who are doing the right thing but who are low paid.

“Ever since these proposals came to Parliament I have voted against them. The plans by George Osborne to hit working people should be scrapped and the vote in the House of Lords last night goes some way towards achieving that aim.”

Peers were accused by Tories of a “constitutional outrage” after they ignored warnings about the primacy of the elected House of Commons.

The Chancellor’s reputation as a skilled political operator took a severe battering as peers backed two motions delaying the cuts, despite stark warnings from his own party about the impact the measures would have.

Conservative former chancellor Lord Lawson was among those who called for the reforms to be tweaked.

“The great harm, or a great deal of the harm, is at the lowest end and that is what needs to be looked at again,” he said. “That is what concerns me.”

Mr Osborne came under fire from MPs in the House of Commons yesterday.

Labour MP Wes Streeting urged the Chancellor to “go back to the drawing board” over his proposals.

“If the Chancellor had listened to the evidence from the outset he wouldn’t be in this mess and if his backbenchers had voted with their feet with their consciences there would be an alignment of opinion between this House and the other place,” he said.

“Instead of manufacturing a phoney constitutional crisis why won’t he put his toys back in the pram and appreciate he needs to go back to the drawing board with his failed policy that hits working people the hardest?”

Mr Osborne hit back: “We will deliver the welfare savings that we were elected to deliver in this Parliament.

“We will help people in the transition to that lower welfare, higher wage economy. We will be the party that stands up for working people. Working people need controlled welfare and a country that lives within its means.”