UK charity Turn2us has today warned that the proposed cuts to tax credits may plunge many of the most vulnerable in society into poverty. The announcement comes after the Chancellor outlined £9bn of cuts to the tax credits system, which will affect low income working families.
Simon Hopkins, Chief Executive of Turn2us commented: “Whilst we knew that tax credit reform was on the cards, the extent to which this lifeline will be reduced is striking. Tax credits are a significant source of income for many families in the UK, helping them to pay their bills, and buy food and other essentials. Removing this vital support, before the impact of any proposed wage increases can be felt, is likely to push many into financial hardship.”
The government will today propose the welfare bill that will set out the reforms in more detail, with many of the changes due to come into effect in 2016.
Simon added: “Many people who come to Turn2us are confused about what welfare benefits and tax credits they may be entitled to, and the planned changes will no doubt add to this concern. Last year, over 900,000 benefits calculations were completed on our website, resulting in over £94m in welfare benefits and tax credits being identified – income that many may have been unaware of.
“It’s more important than ever that people can check their latest benefits entitlements, as well as making themselves aware of what additional support might be available through charitable grants and other help. If you need help, please keep checking what you’re entitled to; if you’re an organisation that provides financial help, please do everything you can to let people know that you’re there. It may seem obvious but we know from the level of unclaimed benefits in the UK that there’s a lot more to do.
“Whilst there may be many who benefit from the measures announced yesterday, it is vital that as a compassionate society we address the concerns of those who will not be so lucky. We will continue to work together with charities and other organisations to make all the help available as accessible and straightforward as possible.”
The Turn2us website includes a free Benefits Calculator to check what welfare benefits you may be entitled to, the amounts you should receive and how to make a claim; a Grants Search with details of over 3,000 charitable funds that give grants and other help; and the latest information on welfare benefits. Please visit www.turn2us.org.uk.