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Labour warns over benefit changes

Labour will attempt to ratchet up pressure on the Government next week over benefit changes it claims will cost families thousands of pounds a year.

The party is calling on Chancellor George Osborne to cancel measures coming into force in April that will see around 200,000 working parents lose up to £4,000 in working tax credits.

It will also use its Opposition Day debate in the House of Commons to demand an urgent review of child benefit reforms, which would see earners on more than £42,476 stripped of their payments, due to come into effect in January 2013.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls claims working tax credits could be protected if the Treasury closed a stamp duty tax avoidance loophole on properties over £1 million.

He said: "Their changes to eligibility for working tax credits are set to clobber hundreds of thousands of parents in part-time work by up to £74 per week.

"This will penalise parents who are working and trying to do the right thing, but cannot increase their working hours at a time when the economy is flatlining and unemployment rising.

"This unfair and damaging change could and should be cancelled using the hundreds of millions of pounds the Government itself has said could be raised by closing a stamp duty tax avoidance loophole on properties worth over £1 million.

"David Cameron and George Osborne also need to urgently review their planned changes to child benefit which are unfair, unworkable and ill thought through. It cannot be right that a two-earner family each earning £42,000, a total of £84,000, would keep all their child benefit, but a single-earner family on £43,000 would lose it all at a stroke."


From Belfast Telegraph