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Government defends tax credit plans after Amber Rudd grilled by working mother

Published 16/10/2015

Downing Street has defended Chancellor George Osborne's plans to cut tax credits in the face of renewed criticism.
Downing Street has defended Chancellor George Osborne's plans to cut tax credits in the face of renewed criticism.

Downing Street has insisted the Government is committed to driving up the pay of low earners amid fresh criticism of its plans to cut tax credits.

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd endured an uncomfortable TV confrontation with a working mother who was close to tears as she described how she would struggle to make ends meet once her credits were withdrawn.

Appearing on BBC One's Question Time, the woman described how she felt betrayed having voted for the Conservatives at the general election in May because she thought they would give her and her children a better chance.

"You're about to cut tax credits after promising you wouldn't. I work bloody hard for my money, to provide for my children, to give them everything they've got, and you're going to take it away from me and them," she said.

"I can hardly afford the rent I have to pay; I can hardly afford the bills I've got to do; and you're going to take more from me. Shame on you."

As the clip of her impassioned appeal circulated widely on social media, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described it as "gut-wrenching", accusing the Conservatives of having "misled" voters during the election campaign.

"People voted for the Conservative government in May because they believed Cameron when he said he would balance the books fairly; instead he is dealing with the deficit on the backs of low and middle income earners, and the poorest," he said in a statement posted on his Facebook page.

"This Tory Government is not the party of the British worker, but it is the problem for the British worker."

No 10 however defended the plans set out by Chancellor George Osborne, insisting they should be seen "in the round" with other measures such as the introduction of the living wage, the rise in the threshold for the basic rate of tax and the increase in free child care.

"Very much the way that they have been designed is to ensure that, taken together, they do the best we can to support working people," a spokesman said.

"What we need to do is move from being a low wage, high tax, high welfare economy to a higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare economy."

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