Leicester MP Jon Ashworth: Credit cuts a fresh blow for families
In recent days, I've been talking to advice agencies across Leicester South about what we can do to help people who are already struggling, when big tax credit cuts and benefit cuts hit later this year.
Leicester Mercury readers know things are already tough at the moment. The economy is in the doldrums.
Sadly, we've just seen local firm Jessops go under with job losses that are an absolute tragedy for all affected.
Later this year, the Government is cutting tax credits for families.
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In fact, under the Tory-Lib Dem plans working families will be asked to pay another big chunk of their tax credits when our richest citizens, Britain's millionaires, are getting a big tax cut.
What's more, some of the very poorest, most vulnerable people across Leicester, such as those on job seeker's allowance of £71 a week, will see their benefits cut.
David Cameron is also cutting the housing benefit that many people rely on.
He's introducing a new measure called the "bedroom tax", where people are penalised for extra rooms.
So, a couple from Saffron Lane got in touch with my office.
They live in a specially-adapted bungalow. The wife has to take morphine through the night so the husband sleeps in the second bedroom.
Under the Tory-Lib Dem plans, that couple will either have to pay the new bedroom tax or move out of that specially-adapted property.
All because David Cameron wants to say he is tough on scroungers in order to win votes.
That couple aren't scroungers and that is not what I call fairness. In fact, it's cheap, nasty politics.
So because things are so tough for people, I'm trying to do what I can to help.
That's why I've brought together advice agencies in both Highfields and Saffron Lane/Eyres Monsell so we can offer co-ordinated support.
In Saffron Lane, we're looking at whether we can establish a "jobs club" to help people find employment. At the same time, the Government really must put in place a scheme to help the unemployed.
I've already got a credit union giving more help to people across Saffron Lane and Eyres Monsell because we know how spiralling personal debts can destroy lives.
I'm also looking into whether credit unions can give people more help and support in Highfields, too.
I know many readers will want the social security bill to be reduced.
I agree. But let's be absolutely clear, under the Tories, the social security bill has rocketed because since the election unemployment has been so high.
The best way to reduce the social security bill is to get people back into work. It's why we need a serious economic plan for growth and that's what I will be putting pressure on the Government to deliver.