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Chancellor Osborne 'listening' over tax credit fears

By Elizabeth Barrett

The Chancellor is "in listening mode" over mounting Tory demands for action to soften the impact of tax credit cuts on low-income households, Cabinet colleague Nicky Morgan suggested.

The Education Secretary hinted that George Osborne could use his Autumn Statement to announce further measures to offset the £4.4 billion a year welfare squeeze as the Government faced a showdown with the House of Lords.

Peers will vote today on moves to throw out the reform package or block it until ministers find ways to prevent poorer working families suffering a sudden £1,300 average loss of income from April.

Ms Morgan insisted there was no question of the cuts being dropped - after shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Labour would refrain from exploiting any U-turn for party political advantage.

She urged the House of Lords not to provoke a potential constitutional crisis by striking down a finance measure already backed by MPs, despite Tory critics defending the right of the upper chamber to force a rethink.

But asked if Mr Osborne could meet calls for mitigating measures, she told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show: "The Chancellor's track record has very much been about supporting, in budgets, working families."

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