This is a critical moment in politics as the government faces a showdown in the House of Lords over its devastating plans to cut working tax credits. The SDLP voted against these plans in the House of Commons and urges those faced with the same decision today to support this stance.
For thousands of hard working people, tax credits mean the difference between getting by and not. Even with that, nearly two thirds of children who currently live in poverty are in working families. The Tories’ proposed cuts would leave a further 120,000 families in the North worse off. They would see teaching assistants, social workers and other key public sector workers lose more than £900 a year.
There is only one way to reform welfare which the SDLP will support and that is to reform work as well. Throughout the talks the SDLP has consistently called on the government to support our call for investment in the infrastructure in the north west, west and southern counties and to have universal free childcare, including a 30 hour free childcare guarantee.
We also want assurances from the government that there will be no more penalties used to try and force politicians here into pushing through their ideological policies which don’t take into account the fact we have a low wage economy. These are some of the tests when it comes to Budget and work in these current talks and in the coming months.