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Tax Credits

Part of Opposition Day — [7th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 5:11 pm on 20th October 2015.

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Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick Conservative, Newark 5:11 pm, 20th October 2015

Much has been said today, but I wish to concentrate on two points. First, we must accept that tax credits are a failed policy. I do not think that anyone has any credibility in this debate unless they accept that the policy is a massive failure of the previous Labour Government. Even if we are generous to Gordon Brown—and there is no reason why we should be—and we adjust for prices, this is a policy that should have cost £6 billion and has ended up costing £28 billion. No economy can afford such a bill. It is wasteful. It is a byzantine merry-go-round of recycled money that has “misdirected”—to use the jargon—at least £10 billion in fraud and error. As has been said, it has enabled many employers, including some of our largest companies, to pay their staff less in the full knowledge that the state would top up weekly incomes. In doing so, the policy has depressed wages. I know that all too well from my constituency where the toxic combination of out-of-control immigration and out-of-control welfare has meant that there has been little, if any, pressure on some of my largest employers to increase wages in the past 10 or 20 years, and it is an increase that the working people of Newark want to see and to which this Government are committed.

Several hon. Members rose