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Tue Oct 27, 2015, 05:37 AM

David Cameron to curb powers of House of Lords after tax credits defeat

A furious Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to set out plans to curb the powers of the House of Lords after his party's tax credit cuts proposal hit a major hurdle when peers voted to delay the policy until the government came up with an alternative scheme to help low-paid workers. Downing Street is expected on Tuesday (27 October) to outline plans for a "rapid review" that will guarantee that the House of Commons always has supremacy over financial matters.

Despite threats of a constitutional crisis prior to the voting, peers went ahead and voted in favour of two motions that basically sent a strong message to the government that the Upper House will not pass the cuts until the working lower income Britons were protected. Three motions were put to vote in the Upper House yesterday and two were passed.

The House of Lords voted 289 to 272 to former Labour minister Lady Hollis' motion to delay the tax credits cuts until a scheme to compensate those affected for three years is put on the table. Another motion by crossbench peer Lady Meacher was also adopted by 307 to 277 votes that refused to support the cuts until an independent assessment of their impact is carried out.

...

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The prime minister is determined we will address this constitutional issue. A convention exists and it has been broken. He has asked for a rapid review to see how it can be put back in place."

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/david-cameron-curb-powers-house-lords-after-tax-credits-defeat-1525828


So much humbug it's hard to know where to start. This government has developed the habit of trying to curtail and sidestep proper consideration in the Commons of its proposed changes by trying to enact through statutory instruments rather than full bills. Changes to the tax credits regime were not part of the Conservative manifesto at the last election, and here's Cameron on the BBC's Question Time in April 2015, when he was chasing suckers' votes:

Audience member: Will you put to bed rumours that you plan to cut child tax credit and restrict child benefit to two children?

David Cameron: No I don’t want to do that—this report that was out today is something I rejected at the time as Prime Minister and I reject it again today.

...

David Dimbleby: “Clearly there are some people who are worried that you have a plan to cut child credit and tax credits. Are you saying absolutely as a guarantee, it will never happen?”

David Cameron: “First of all, child tax credit, we increased by £450..”

David Dimbleby: “And it’s not going to fall?”

David Cameron: “It’s not going to fall. Child benefit, to me, is one of the most important benefits there is. It goes directly to the family, normally to the mother, £20 for the first child, £14 for the second. It is the key part of families’ budgets in this country. That’s not what we need to change.”

Six months is a long time in politics, obviously. As it is, last night's votes have accepted the principle of the cuts, the focus is now on the detail of the timescale and arrangements for enacting them.

I've never been much of a fan of the tax credits regime. It sidestepped issues of low wages and has ended up with all of us subsidizing companies (including ones that studiously avoid paying their fair share of taxes in the UK) that don't pay their workers decent wages. But to cut that support away without proper consideration of the consequences and sane plans to phase the changes in so that people who need help aren't driven into dire straits is appalling.

The debate about extending the "convention" that the Lords don't oppose government finance bills to statutory instruments should be an interesting one. I hope the Opposition isn't going to cut Cameron too much slack in an effort to look "reasonable". He deserves to have his promise from April rammed in his face at every turn.

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Reply David Cameron to curb powers of House of Lords after tax credits defeat (Original post)
Denzil_DC Oct 2015 OP
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Oct 2015 #1
Denzil_DC Oct 2015 #2
muriel_volestrangler Oct 2015 #3
MisterP Oct 2015 #4
LeftishBrit Oct 2015 #5
Denzil_DC Oct 2015 #6

Response to Denzil_DC (Original post)

Tue Oct 27, 2015, 05:49 AM

1. I agree most with your second to last paragraph.

Tax credits are a Rube Goldberg way to deal with low wages. Deal with wage levels to make sure that people who work can afford to live. Find work for those that want to work but don't seem to be able to get it on their own. And then simply give those that can't work what they need to live.

Don't give backdoor subsidies to Walmart shareholders by allowing them to pay their workers less than a living wage.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #1)

Tue Oct 27, 2015, 06:06 AM

2. Yup. It's carts and horses.

For a start, the "living wage" levels need to be precisely that, for decency's sake. Even the paltry increases Osborne's proposed need time to establish and work through the system, which could take a few years and no doubt much wrangling. That's the horse.

Then it becomes possible - and an easier political sell all round - to taper off the state subsidies. That's the cart.

But that demands political actors in good faith, which I doubt we're talking about here.

The Tories got such an easy ride during the election among all the Miliband and SNP and immigration etc. hysteria that I think they've kidded themselves they have a mandate for whatever they choose to do. A few defections, scandals or untimely by-elections for other reasons and that slim majority's gone.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #1)

Tue Oct 27, 2015, 08:34 AM

3. Tax credits deal with the greater needs of a family, however

If you have a couple with 2 pre-school children, their needs are more than a couple without any children (both the living costs for the children, and either childcare or loss of wages of one parent staying at home). A minimum wage that is enough for one person on their own, or half of a couple, is not enough for the family. In 2011, over 80% of households getting tax credits had children: http://www.poverty.org.uk/15/index.shtml

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Response to Denzil_DC (Original post)

Tue Oct 27, 2015, 11:41 PM

4. such a prideful purge

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Response to Denzil_DC (Original post)

Wed Oct 28, 2015, 08:35 AM

5. Just goes to show...

that when someone on the far left of the Labour Party is chosen as its leader, the next thing that will happen is a ferocious attack on traditional British institutions like the House of Lords, if they dare to do anything that contradicts the government....

Oh, you mean it isn't the Labour Left who are doing this???

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Response to LeftishBrit (Reply #5)

Wed Oct 28, 2015, 08:40 AM

6. All I can say to that is ...

LOL.

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