Rishi Sunak insists he IS a ‘low-tax Tory’ despite record burden on families as his Universal Credit taper rate cut for two million families comes into force today
Rishi Sunak has insisted he is a low-tax Tory despite the record burden on families as his Universal Credit taper rate cut for two million families comes into force today.
The Chancellor said ‘actions speak louder than words’ while visiting a community centre in Westminster to mark the reduction announced during his Budget.
Last month, Mr Sunak slashed 63p in the pound to 55p in the universal credit taper rate – the amount in benefits a claimant loses for each pound they earn above a set work allowance.
The changes mean that nearly two million families will keep on average an extra £1,000 a year.
But campaigners have said while millions will benefit from the change, at least two million people will not benefit at all because they are either unable to work or don’t earn enough.
Rishi Sunak slashed 63p in the pound to 55p in the universal credit taper rate – the amount in benefits a claimant loses for each pound they earn above a set work allowance
Under the Universal Credit cut, a single mother of two, renting in Darlington, working a full-time job on the National Living Wage, will see her take-home income increase by £1,200 on an annual basis
Mr Sunak told the Daily Express: ‘I think actions speak louder than words. And that’s why this announcement is important.
‘This policy coming into force before Christmas is important, because it’s all very well me saying what I want to do. I should be judged on what I am doing.’
Meanwhile, a couple with two children, renting their home with one partner working full time and the other works 16 hours a week, will be £1,800 per year better off.
The move was intended to soften the blow of the withdrawal of the £20-a-week uplift which was introduced during the pandemic.
However, campaigners say the change does not compensate for this removal – or do anything to help people who are not in work.
Katie Schmuecker, Deputy Director of Policy & Partnerships at Joseph Rowntree Foundation said: ‘This is a tale of two Budgets for families on low incomes.
‘For those in work, the change to the taper rate and work allowance, alongside the National Living Wage increase, are very positive steps, allowing low-paid workers to keep more of what they earn.
‘But the reality is that millions of people who are unable to work or looking for work will not benefit from these changes.’
Mr Sunak also spoke on the current economy, saying there is ‘lots to be positive about’ and that unemployment has been decreasing in the last eight to nine months despite disruption caused by the Covid pandemic.
The Chancellor’s comments follow him being handed the Politician of the Year award by the Spectator magazine – which the Prime Minister once edited.
Mr Sunak speaks on stage as he receives the Politician of the year award at the Rosewood Hotel in London’s West End
He was among a host of MPs from all parties at the Rosewood Hotel in London’s West End, which came as the relationship between the occupant of No10 and Mr Sunak in No11 is the subject of much discussion amid rumours their relationship has soured.
The Times reported that Mr Sunak was becoming increasingly frustrated with the ‘chaotic’ operation in No 10.
The newspaper said the Chancellor’s chief of staff, Liam Booth-Smith, was being blamed for briefing that there was ‘a lot of concern in the building’ about Mr Johnson.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman insisted that the teams in No 10 and No 11, where the Chancellor is based, ‘continue to work together very well at all levels’.