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Part of Opposition Day — [7th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 6:12 pm on 20th October 2015.

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Photo of Jess Phillips Jess Phillips Labour, Birmingham, Yardley 6:12 pm, 20th October 2015

I rise to beg Members on the Government Benches to think very hard about how they vote tonight. When I say that I am begging, I mean it. I am begging for 24,000 children in Birmingham, Yardley who will be hit by this change. By way of comparison, I did a quick search on Rightmove this lunchtime and found that from the hundreds and hundreds of homes available for sale in my constituency only four would benefit from the inheritance tax cut—just four. That means four people winning and 24,000 children losing, and the four people winning have to be dead before they win, so they are not very thankful. This is supposed to be a one-nation Government. One nation? For the people in Birmingham, Yardley it looks like the people on the Government Benches are only looking after the same old people.

I feel the need to declare that my name is Jess and I relied on benefits. When I was 23, after the birth of my first baby 10 years ago, my husband and I received child tax credits. Our household income was £19,000. Without tax credits, I would never have been able to afford the childcare for my young son. The top-up meant that I could do small bits of paid and voluntary work and the tax credits helped me to go to work and begin to build a career.

I have heard all the well-rehearsed arguments from Government Members about how they are increasing wages and I welcome those increases, I really do, but in my case that would have made no difference because I was 23 and they are not offering a pay rise to anyone under 25. If the Government wish to brand the increases in minimum wage as a living wage, they must also accept that those who do not receive it cannot afford to live. That is the simple problem with that branding. So, will the Government ensure that any parent aged 25 and under is not affected by these changes, or are they willing to tell me that those families in their constituencies do not deserve to be able to live?