Labour accuses Tories of pushing tax credit cuts through Parliament without proper scrutiny

Harriet Harman wants the £6bn in cuts to be examined by the Commons Treasury and Work and Pensions Select Committees

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Labour has accused the Government of railroading its £1,000-a-year cuts to tax credits for three million families through Parliament without proper scrutiny.

Harriet Harman, Labour’s acting leader, has urged David Cameron to put the £6bn cuts on hold so the proposal can be examined by the Commons Treasury and Work and Pensions Select Committees. She claimed that the Government wanted to push through the cuts using a procedure that would see a debate of only 45 minutes by a committee of no more than 15 MPs, who would not be able to amend the proposal.

 

Ms Harman told the Prime Minister in a letter: “Parliament needs to be able to scrutinise this measure which was not in your manifesto, and is substantial and highly controversial, and which we oppose. These cuts to tax credits hit working families in every constituency, and must not be sneaked through the back door without the chance for MPs to subject them to proper scrutiny.”

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Ms Harman insisted the manifesto did not spell out the £6bn cut. (Getty)

She said the cuts should be included in primary rather than secondary legislation, so that a Bill could be debated fully in the Commons chamber and be scrutinised in detail by a committee of MPs and by the House of Lords. She said that would expose the fact that George Osborne’s £9-an-hour national living wage by 2020 would not compensate for the tax credit cuts.

Ministers argue that they have a mandate to reduce welfare spending because the Conservatives’ general election manifesto pledged £12bn of cuts to the budget.

But Ms Harman insisted the manifesto did not spell out the £6bn cut. She recalled that when Mr Cameron was asked in April whether he would reduce child tax credit, he replied: “No, I don’t want to do that.”

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