MANY more children will be plunged into poverty due to Government benefit cuts, a York MP has said.
Hugh Bayley, who represents York Central, challenged the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in the House of Commons and said the response had fuelled his concerns.
Mr Bayley said means-tested benefits, introduced during his time as a Social Security Minister in the late 1990s, had seen the number of UK households with below-average incomes fall “significantly” but national media reports last week said the Government’s one per cent benefit cap would force 200,000 more children into poverty.
Responding to Mr Bayley’s question about the Government’s proposals “to make sure work is a pathway out of poverty”, Liberal Democrat leader Mr Clegg said: “The main thing is to make sure work always pays, which is why we are introduced much-needed reforms ducked by the previous (Labour) administration.
“We are immensely proud that, as of April, we will be taking two million people on low pay out of paying any income tax at all.”
Mr Clegg said introducing universal credits would “get rid of some of the disincentives to work”, by rewarding people who only work several hours a week, and allow those working to “keep more of their money”.
However, Mr Bayley pointed to research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, predicting child poverty after housing costs are taken into account will affect three million people in 2014/15.
He said: “The Deputy Prime Minister talks about rewarding work, but the Government’s policies will plunge many more children into poverty, which is extremely worrying.”
He said welfare changes would cut tax credits and benefits for millions of people, with two-thirds of the families affected being in work, and he voted against them because he did not want to see previous reforms dealt “a huge setback”.