George Osborne gets roasted live on TV over defeat on tax credits in the Lords

Chancellor rejects repeated calls to scrap cuts ‘victimising working parents and children’

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne in the Main Chamber, House of Commons, London during Treasury Questions after the House of Lords blocked Government plans to cut tax credits
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne in the Main Chamber, House of Commons, London during Treasury Questions after the House of Lords blocked Government plans to cut tax credits

George Osborne has faced the Commons for the first time since an embarrassing defeat in the House of Lords over his plans to cut tax credits.

The Chancellor was repeatedly attacked on all fronts from Labour and SNP members, but responded to all critics with a vow to press ahead with efforts to reduce the welfare bill.

On Monday night, peers backed two motions to delay cuts to working tax credit and child tax credit that would have saved the Government £4.4 billion.

Osborne on tax credit vote

Conservative MPs and ministers have been in uproar at the rejection of the cuts by the unelected house – but Labour told Mr Osborne today to “put his toys back in the pram” and stop making it into a constitutional issue.

Leading the roasting of the Chancellor in the Commons was South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck, who said some families in her constituency “may just give up hope” if the planned cuts go ahead.

She said: “The public, the experts, some of his own MPs and the other place all agree that his plans will victimise working parents and their children, so can the Chancellor please give my constituents some hope and shelve these ridiculous tax credit cuts?”

Wes Streeting, the Labour MP for Ilford North, said if he had “listen to evidence” on cuts in the first place the Chancellor “wouldn’t be in this mess”.

He said: “Instead of manufacturing a phoney constitutional crisis, why won't he put his toys back in the pram and appreciate that he needs to go back to the drawing board with his failed policy which hits working people the hardest?”

The SNP joined Labour in criticism of the plans, with East Renfrewshire MP Kirsten Oswald saying: “The Chancellor has singularly failed to listen to the SNP and this house when told he should rethink these measures, so how about he listen to the people and drop the tax credit cuts once and for all?”

And in a personal attack on Mr Osborne, the SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie said the Chancellor was “in denial”.

Mr Hosie said the defeat in the Lords showed the Chancellor “has lost his political touch” and his chances of becoming Prime Minister “have gone up in a puff of ermine-clad smoke”.

Finally, Labour’s shadow Chancellor John McDonnell offered an apparently reconciliatory hand to Mr Osborne saying he would applaud any motion to “reverse the cuts to tax credits fairly and in full”.

“But can he assure us that whatever proposals he brings forward he will not support any that an independent assessment demonstrates will cause any child to be forced to live below the poverty line,” he said.

To all his critics, Mr Osborne responded in much the same way. “We will continue to reform tax credits and save the money needed so that Britain lives within its means,” he said, hinting at a revamped attempt to cut the welfare budget in his Autumn Statement.

“We remain as determined as ever to build the low-tax, low-welfare, high-wage economy that Britain needs and the British people want,” he said.

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