Working families deserve more help and support

Local Conservatives this week welcomed new calls by David Cameron to give more support to families and working parents, and to tackle the crisis in the tax credit system.

 

New figures recently published by the Government have revealed that last year, nearly 7,000 families across the borough had to pay back over £8.5 million of Child & Working Family Tax Credit payments due to administrative bungling – equivalent to £1,230 per family.

Suggested proposals under consideration by Conservatives include:


• Simplification of the tax credits system to make it fairer and easier for families;


• Giving transferable tax allowances to married couples - and couples in civil partnerships - with young children;


• Tax relief on child care for working parents.

It is important that we provide financial help and assistance to families and working parents. But thanks to the paperwork and red tape introduced by this Government, the benefits system is collapsing under the weight of its own complexity. The huge costs of running such a complex, bureaucratic system are taking money away from the families who really need it.

Tax credits are now a major source of financial distress. Payments are often overpaid thanks to administrative bungling, with families forced to pay the money back after they’ve spent it, putting even more pressure on household budgets.

 

Last year, in Greenwich & Woolwich 2,800 families were told to pay £3.7million of money back;  in Eltham the figures were 2,200 families and £2.2 million; and in Erith and Thamesmead (half of which is in Greenwich and half in Bexley) 3,900 familes had to repay £5.3 million.

 
We welcome the practical proposals by David Cameron to give more support to working families, by trusting people and sharing responsibility. The state cannot engineer happy families by legislation, regulation, targets and moralising, but we can support families in ways that reinforce society while leaving people free to live their own lives.