Jeremy Corbyn accuses the Tories of an 'absurd lie' over cuts to tax credits

David Cameron said he rejected cutting the payments before the election

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Indy Politics

Jeremy Corbyn has accused David Cameron of committing an “absurd lie” over cuts to tax credits and their effect on people who work.

In his speech to Labour’s annual conference in Brighton the party leader noted that the Prime Minister had said before the election he rejected cuts to tax credits – months before cutting them. 

He said he the situation exposed the Conservatives as not being on the side of working people.

“It’s a shocking broken promise - and the Tories voted it through in Parliament just two weeks ago,” Mr Corbyn told delegates and party officials.

“How can it be right for a single mother working as a part time nurse earning just £18,000 to lose £2,000 to this broken promise?  Some working families losing nearly £3,500 a year to this same broken promise.”

At a leaders’ question time event in the run up to May’s vote Mr Cameron said he did not want to cut tax credits and said he rejected plans to cut them.

“No I don’t want to do that—this report that was out today is something I rejected at the time as Prime Minister and I reject it again today,” he said when asked by an audience member whether he would cut the payments made to low-income working families.

The first Conservative budget made cuts to tax credits as part of £12bn welfare savings. Mr Corbyn said the move was not fair.

“And how can it be right or fair to break this promise while handing out an inheritance tax cut to 60,000 of the wealthiest families in the country?  See the contrast,” he told his party’s conference.

“We’ll fight this every inch of the way and we’ll campaign at the workplace, in every community against this Tory broken promise and to expose the absurd lie that the Tories are on the side of working people, that they are giving Britain a pay rise.”

The Government announced the cuts at the same time as it announced a higher minimum wage, which George Osborne said would make work pay.

But research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found the higher wage floor would come nowhere near to compensating for the benefit cuts.

In a rare qualitative assessment, the IFS warned that the higher wage could not replace tax credits and benefits as a way of alleviating poverty.

“There may be strong arguments for introducing the new NLW, but it should not be considered a direct substitute for benefits and tax credits aimed at lower income households,” it explained.

Mr Osborne said at the time of the wage’s announcement that it would provide people with “financial security”.