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MPs to debate tax credits after House of Lords defeat

Published 29/10/2015

Chancellor George Osborne has been accused of introducing changes which will leave low-paid workers worse off
Chancellor George Osborne has been accused of introducing changes which will leave low-paid workers worse off

MPs are set to return to the thorny issue of tax credits in the wake of the Government's bruising defeat in the House of Lords.

This time it is the turn of the Commons who will debate a backbench motion calling on ministers to bring forward proposals to "mitigate" the impact of their planned £4.4 billion of cuts on the lowest paid workers.

Nine Conservative MPs - including former leadership contender David Davis and London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith - have signed the non-binding motion which was tabled by the Labour chairman of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, Frank Field, in an attempt to highlight Tory divisions.

However with Chancellor George Osborne having already said he will bring forward measures to ease the transition to the new system in next month's Autumn Statement, some of the heat may have gone from the debate and there may even not be a vote.

Mr Osborne - the architect of the tax credit changes - was given a rousing reception when he addressed a meeting on Wednesday evening of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, with MPs banging their desks in a traditional display of support.

Earlier, at Prime Minister's Questions, David Cameron repeatedly side-stepped a challenge by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to give a "cast iron guarantee" that no claimants would lose out as a result of the changes.

There is still deep anger among Tories at the way they believe the Lords ignored the convention that the Commons has primacy on financial matters in order to vote down the Government's plans on Monday.

Lord Strathclyde, the former leader of the Lords drafted in by Mr Cameron to carry out a review of the powers of the Upper House, said peers had behaved "wrongly, deplorably and unnecessarily".

However he rejected the idea that Mr Cameron could now pack the Lords with new Tory peers in order to ensure the Government was able to get its business through.

Instead he suggested the Parliament Acts could be amended to curb the powers of the upper chamber.

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