Stevenage’s MP boycotts meeting with government minister over refusal to discuss cuts to child tax credits

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland.

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland. - Credit: Archant

Stevenage’s MP boycotted a meeting with a treasury minister yesterday as he maintained his opposition to the pace of planned cuts to child tax credits.

Stephen McPartland wanted to talk about cuts to child tax credit he claims to have uncovered, but says minister David Gauke – a fellow Conservative MP in Herts, who was visiting the town to talk about research and development tax incentives for business – wouldn’t discuss the matter.

He said: “I boycotted the meeting and the media were not invited, as he does not want to talk about the cuts to child tax credits I have uncovered.

“I voted against and have consistently spoken out about the proposed changes to tax credits.

“I have urged the Treasury to listen and introduce some form of mitigation. I have shared on my website House of Commons library figures that prove child tax credits will be cut for many families.


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“This is completely unacceptable and destroys the government’s final defence that planned cuts do not apply to child tax credits.”

Mr McPartland accepts that tax credits need reform but does not agree with how his government is going about it.

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Last month he was one of only two Conservative MPs who voted against the tax credit reform bill, which passed through the House of Commons but was later defeated in the House of Lords.

He says the figures he uncovered show that under the plans a family who currently receive 87 per cent of their maximum child tax credit award will see this cut to 51 per cent from April.

He feels this is unfair and will hit working people the hardest.

He said: “Putting it simply, a family receives a maximum tax credit award made up of working tax credits and child tax credits.

“The proposed cut in the threshold – the income level at which you start losing tax credits and the increase to the taper rate, the amount taken away in every pound, applies to the maximum tax credit award.

“That means once a family has lost all its working tax credits, then it will begin losing their child tax credits.”

A spokesperson for the treasury said: “The Financial Secretary was in Stevenage to discuss R&D tax reliefs, something that is delivering £1.75bn in benefits for business across the UK and £365m in the South East in particular.

“The chancellor has made clear that the government will listen about how we make a transition to a higher wage, lower tax and lower welfare economy he wants to see, and will announce his new proposals at the autumn statement.”

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