The House of Commons just passed a bill which would cut tax credits for low paid families. This was against the wishes of many – a lot of families depend on this government top-up. The House of Lords have rejected the bill, saying that the government must first of all show how they will compensate those who have lost out. Before I go on, let me explain what tax credits are:
Tax credits aren’t what they sound like, they are actual money paid to the low paid. Now, if you are self employed, receiving tax credits gives you time to build your business up, and then you can stop having them. This beats the alternative – being on the unemployment register, where you get more money, but you add to the numbers of ‘visibly’ unemployed people, looking for jobs which aren’t there. It’s a good system in that regard as it creates employment for less money than unemployment benefits.
If you are low paid, tax credits are a way of topping up your wages so that you can afford to pay your bills – yes, I know that sounds bizarre, doesn’t it? I mean don’t we pay a living wage in the UK? No. We don’t. Let me also say here that this is effectively a government subsidy to stock market floated companies like supermarkets and other highly profitable businesses to employ people at huge expense to the tax payer, whilst paying them minimum wage – it would be cheaper all round to force a higher minimum wage, but the government won’t do anything which could be seen as ‘anti-business’ – they prefer to be clearly ‘anti-public’ instead, perhaps?
Back to the story of the day – the Lords refused to pass the bill that would cut tax credits, and the government is now threatening them. Just take a moment to let that sink in. The government – a conservative government – who like the House of Lords when it suits them, didn’t like it when the House of Lords didn’t simply rubber-stamp the government’s bill. I quote: (source)
“David Cameron has indicated that he is prepared to flood the House of Lords with Conservatives if opposition peers torpedo the Government’s plans to cut tax credits.
The Prime Minister warned peers plotting to block Tory changes to the tax credits system to consider “very carefully” any plans to overturn the will of the House of Commons.
He pointed out that is the role of MPs in the Commons to take “financial decisions” and for peers to “revise other legislation”.
The Prime Minister did not rule out a suggestion by an MP that he should “create more peers to ensure the Government can get its financial business through”.
Mr Cameron appoints members of the Lords and it is understood Downing Street is considering redressing the balance in the Upper House by announcing new Tory peers in the coming months.
Currently, the Conservatives do not have an overall majority in the Lords, meaning they can be defeated on key legislation.”
This is bullying plain and simple – if the balance of the House of Lords can be changed at whim by the sitting government, then you might as well get rid of them altogether – they are merely a figure-head – a powerless bunch of well dressed toffs who mustn’t interfere with government business? Well I thank them today on behalf of those receiving tax credits. Think again David Cameron – force companies to pay a living wage and you can cut tax credits right down. Until then – let’s be thankful that the House of Lords still has teeth.
God Bless you