UNIONS, bosses, charities and churches should join forces in a “grand alliance” to force the abandonment of “anti-British” tax credit cuts that will plunge Britain into the worst child poverty crisis for 50 years, Gordon Brown said.
The former prime minister said Chancellor George Osborne’s attempt to slash £4.4 billion from the welfare bill was so “fundamentally flawed” that nothing but a complete U-turn would prevent it causing huge damage.
No phasing in, no temporary halt or slower pacing of the implementation of the Osborne tax credit proposals will make a fundamental attack on the working poor.Gordon Brown
He accused businesses of being “virtually silent” on the issue despite the impact on them as he railed against a policy he said was based on Tory “myths” about society – such as believing the poor were “lazy”.
Mr Osborne has promised measures to mitigate the effects of the squeeze on low-income households in the Autumn Statement on 25 November – after suffering defeat in the House of Lords.
But Mr Brown – who introduced the tax credit system as prime minister – said tinkering with other benefits such as Universal Credit or raising income tax thresholds was not enough.
“These reforms are anti-work, anti-family, anti-children, anti-fairness, anti-women and, in my view, anti-British,” he said in a speech to mark the 50th anniversary of the Child Poverty Action Group. “How have we got to this point where the myths are believed?
“The problem he has got into is that he has done exactly the opposite of what he should be doing,” he said of Mr Osborne.
“They cannot continue without inflicting enormous damage on children and enormous damage on work in this country.”