Warning over tax credit cuts in Hastings

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More than 7,000 Hastings families could be left struggling if plans to cut tax credits go ahead, a leading children’s charity has warned.

The impact on more than 13,000 children in the town was revealed by Barnardo’s this week.

It is urging politicians to keep the ‘lifeline’ benefit and not to cut tax credits following government signals they will be reduced, with some families potentially losing out completely.

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 Hastings, 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.”

The cuts are expected as part of a plan to axe £12bn from the welfare bill, expected to be announced in the Budget tomorrow (Wednesday, July 8).

Barnardo’s has calculated 7,400 or 68.4 per cent of families in the area currently use tax credits to top up low incomes – helping them buy essentials such as food and clothing for the family.

If the cut goes ahead, 13,600 children in Hastings stand to be affected.

“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,” said a Barnardo’s spokesman.

“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 amongst families.

It is asking people in Hastings to email their local MP, to support the campaign by going to www.barnardos.org.uk.

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