Harriet Harman MP, the acting leader of the Labour Party, will now be backing the Tory’s plans to scrap child tax credit for families with more than two children, as well as the controversial lowering of the “benefits cap,” it seems.
Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday Politics show this morning, Ms Harman talked about the Labour Party’s approach to George Osborne’s new budget, in which he outlined £12 billion worth of cuts from the UK’s welfare bill.
In relation to the household benefits cap being lowered from £26,000 to £20,000, or £23,000 for those in London, Ms Harman made clear that the Labour line was to support such reforms.
“We won’t oppose the household benefit cap,” she told Andrew Neil on the BBC 1 show.
In a surprising move, that is likely to attract some criticism, Harman alluded to the idea that she would be pushing MP’s to “what they’ve brought forward in relation to restricting benefits and tax credits for people with two or more children… we’re going to be understanding.”This controversial “two child” policy is set to come into force from April 2017, and is expected to cut £1.35bn by the 2020-21 financial year, George Osborne set out this week.
Harman told the BBC programme: "What we've got to do is listen to what people round the country said to us and recognise that we didn't get elected again.
"This wasn't a blip, it was the second time we haven't got elected and actually what people don't want us to do is blanket opposition.
"They want us to actually be specific about what we're going to be challenging and holding the government to account on.
"But more than that, they want us to listen to their concerns and we've got to recognise why it was that the Tories are in government and not us.
"Which is not because people love the Tories particularly but because they didn't trust us on the economy and on benefits.
But Labour leadership hopeful Jeremy Corbyn has hit back at Harman's plans this afternoon.
"If it is proposed that Labour MPs are being asked to vote for the Government's plans to cut benefits to families I am not willing to vote for policies that will push more children in to poverty," he said.
"Families are suffering enough. We shouldn't play the Government's political games when the welfare of children is at stake."
Twitter uses have been reacting to Ms Harman's policy plans today.
Harriet Harman says Lab won't oppose cutting tax credits after 2 kids, won't oppose benefits cap and won't vote against welfare bill. Jesus.— Ben Wray (@Ben_Wray1989) July 12, 2015
#bbcsp. Harriet Harman saying that "Labour" does not think that people should live decently on benefits (except tax credits!). Hopeless.— Ian Millard (@ianrmillard) July 12, 2015
I think modern day politicians have forgotten what principles actually are. Labour voting to cut child tax credits? Shocking Harriet Harman— Jake Morrison (@EiJake) July 12, 2015