Should the welfare system be reformed? Is the tax credit system flawed? Is a universal credit a good idea in principle? The answer to all these questions is 'yes'. But if the question is about whether the government is tackling these issues in the correct way, the answer is 'no'. A huge change of direction is required.
It's New Year's Eve, newsrooms are quiet and casual comments by ministers are enough to make top headlines. Today, Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has made the news with some vaguely worded attacks on the system of tax credits.
Walk wide of people with a book to sell. This may be interpreted as an unwise remark coming from a writer, but the recent comments from five 'rising stars' of the Tory party who are promoting their book 'Britannia in Chains' is a reminder that literary self-interest can be as ugly as any other variety.
From 6 April 2012, some poor UK households may lose tax credits due to them because of inadequate communication by the government. Numerous low-income families already face drastic tax credit and welfare benefits cuts. But even some of those still entitled to child or working tax credit may not receive this.
Amidst all the budget fuss over 50p tax rates for the very wealthy and the ‘injustice’ of higher rate taxpayers losing out on Child Benefit, who is prepared to speak up for 212,000 low income working families set to lose £3,870 a year each? It is they who are facing the biggest cut in incomes come April this year.