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I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention. I absolutely agree that this is clearly a work penalty— to think that the Conservatives wanted to rebrand themselves as the party of working people, but instead we have this penalty.
A cleaner in my constituency with one child earning just over £13,000 a year will now lose nearly £2,000 of it. That, quite simply, is the reality of these cuts. As for the so-called national living wage, there is one simple problem: it is not actually enough to live on. That is why we had tax credits in the first place, and why the Living Wage Foundation takes account of them when it calculates the real living wage.
If the Conservatives were serious about an economy based on fair pay for decent work, they would be doing the opposite of what they propose in the Trade Union Bill and making sure that working people genuinely get their share of the wealth they create. The real winners will be the Tories’ paymasters in big businesses, because the most profitable companies in Britain will get the cut in corporation tax—not to mention the millionaires. We know what they really think of ordinary working people in Britain because the Minister for Employment said it herself in a book called “Britannia Unchained”:
“the British are among the worst idlers in the world” who
“prefer a lie-in to hard work.”
If they thought that these cuts were so necessary and so reasonable, why did they not mention them before the election? Instead, we saw exactly the opposite, with the Prime Minister categorically denying on national television that any such changes would be made. We used to say, “You can’t trust the Tories with the NHS”; now we know that you cannot trust them, full stop.