I have obtained figures that show that working parents in Flintshire are still set to lose between £2,000 and £3,000 when they are transferred onto Universal Credit which will devastate their family finances and leave them unable to afford the basic necessities.
There is little incentive to work extra hours when the marginal tax rate under Universal Credit is still 75% for income tax payers. Those doing extra hours on the increased rate of National Living Wage will only get to take home £1.89.
The ‘clawback’ on additional earnings saw only a modest reduction in the Autumn Statement from 65% to 63%. Whilst this is a tiny step in the right direction, it is worth less than £300 for most working parents. It also goes nowhere near taking the taper back to the original 55% or offsetting the enormous £2,000 to £3,000 cuts that Universal Credit represents. Over 90% of the cuts are still being applied to Universal Credit.
Before the Autumn Statement the Prime Minister had pledged to support families struggling to make ends meet. The Government hoped that a 30p increase in the National Living Wage, which is welcome but less than expected, would mitigate the £2,000 loss to families: it will do nothing of the sort.
Analysis by the UK’s fourth biggest and fastest growing trade union, USDAW, suggests that a couple with children, both working for the new National Living Wage rate of £7.50 an hour, one working full-time and one part-time, would be £2,881 worse off on Universal Credit compared to the current rate of Tax Credits.
The more we learn from the Autumn Statement we can see with greater clarity how much the Government are failing people just about managing. With Christmas just around the corner the Chancellor has delivered a miserable outlook for families.
Labour has long argued that you need to tackle the root causes of in-work poverty, not cut the support that is given. The Chancellor had a golden opportunity to reframe how the economy is being managed, but he chose not to take it. Deciding instead to place a heavy burden on working families.
A cut to household budgets of between £2,000 and £3,000 is a burden no one can handle. All economic indicators point to wages continue to stagnate and prices to start rising again. This will create another cost-of-living-crisis. After 6 years of failure people deserve a better government than the one we are living with now.