Critics claim tax credit cuts will affect 50,000 children in Brent

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (Pic: PA/Yui Mok)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (Pic: PA/Yui Mok) - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Up to 50,000 children in Brent could be hit if the controversial cuts to tax credits go ahead.

A staggering 73 per cent of the 24,800 families in receipt of tax credits are working, with a total of 49,500 children according to a report from Barnardos, although government figures suggest the number could be higher with 27,100 claimants.

The children’s charity, through an End Child Poverty coalition, is urging the government to keep the credits after it passed through its second reading of the controversial Welfare Reform and Work Bill promising £12bn of welfare cuts.

The tax, which tops up low incomes helping families buy essentials such as food and clothing, is set to be denied to those with more than two children meaning thousands stand to lose.

Andrew Dismore, Labour London Assembly member has also slammed government plans to introduce the cut saying it was clear George Osboure, the Chancellor, is “intent on targeting the poorest in our community and making their life even more difficult”.

He added: “Yes, we have to balance the books but we shouldn’t be putting people in a position where they have to choose between feeding their children and paying their electricity bill. “The Government should be focusing on tackling the cuases of poverty, such as London’s high housing cost, instead of taking away support from those already struggling to make ends meet.”

Javed Khan, Barnardo’s chief executive, said: “Without this income, many parents in London could not afford their weekly food shopping let alone school uniforms and books.

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“With low wages and high living cost stretching budgets, 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 cost in the future.

“Families would be better off it the government focused on tackling low wages and high childcare costs, instead of cutting struggling family incomes.”

Mr Osborne said: “The original tax credit system cost £1.1billion in its first year. This year, that cost has reached £30billion. We spend more on family benefits in Britain than Germany, France or Sweden.

“Those who oppose any savings to tax credits will have to explain how on Earth they propose to eliminate the deficit, let alone run a surplus and pay down debt.”

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