Socialist Worker

Tory tax and benefit cuts hit the poorest hardest

by Eleanor Claxton-Mayer
Issue No. 2548

Members of Unite Community protest against benefit sanctions outside parliament last week

Members of Unite Community protest against benefit sanctions outside parliament last week (Pic: Guy Smallman)


The Tories’ tax and benefit changes from April will hit the poorest the hardest.

Despite claims of her government being “fairer” it’s clear that prime minister Theresa May’s administration is as vicious and nasty as its predecessors.

Four fifths of the gains from income tax cuts are going to the richest while the poorest third are to bear the brunt of two thirds of the benefit cuts and could lose £2,000 a year.

The threshold for paying income tax has risen to £11,500, giving a tax cut to those earning more than £11,100.

The higher rate threshold has also risen to £45,000.

These tax cuts combined are worth £2 billion but this is offset by slashing benefits.

All working age benefits and tax credits will be frozen.

The four-year freeze started last year but many will feel the bite of it now from the rise in inflation.

This is saving the government £2.7 billion more than it anticipated from the policy over the four years. Without the freeze, benefits would have risen by 1 percent this year, but instead the government is cutting £800 million.

Pressure

On top of this inflation is predicted to rise to 3 percent this year, increasing financial pressure on people relying on benefits.

But it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

If your first child is born after 6 April you will be denied the family element of tax credits and universal credit (UC).

This is worth £545 per year and affects 270,000 families.

If you have two or more children, any more you have after 6 April will not get tax credit support.

This will hit hundreds of thousands of families with a loss of £2,780 a year.

These cuts come in the wake of attacks on Personal Independence Payments and Employment Support Allowance along with housing support.

The cuts to benefits are pushing thousands into poverty and putting many disabled people’s lives in danger.

The tax cuts are benefiting those who are for the most part unaffected by benefit changes.

Once again the government is cutting support for the poorest in society. This needs to be challenged and the cuts must be resisted.


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