Wales politics

Pause tax credit cuts, says Tory MP Craig Williams

Craig Williams
Image caption Craig Williams said the committee did not receive enough evidence on the tax credit plans

The chancellor should "pause" plans to cut tax credits if he cannot soften the impact of the changes immediately, a Welsh Conservative MP has said.

Cardiff North MP Craig Williams, a member of Parliament's Work and Pensions Committee, said it would give ministers "time to look at the system".

George Osborne is due to set out plans to lessen the impact of the cuts in his Autumn Statement on 25 November.

His original proposals were rejected by the House of Lords in October.

The committee wants the reforms postponed for a year.

Mr Williams said the tax credit system was "not sustainable", but added: "We thought the way it's going through now it needed a lot more mitigation in terms of the next financial year especially."

"The committee have said there is no easy way to change the tax credit system.

"So [the chancellor] is going to have to look more holistically."

Image copyright PA
Image caption George Osborne is revising his plans to cut tax credits following the defeat in the House of Lords

The committee's report criticised the Treasury for being "unacceptably evasive" during its investigation.

Mr Williams told the BBC: "There was a frustration in the committee during these two weeks that we simply don't have all the evidence to hand."

On Wednesday, the Treasury said the MPs' report was out of date as the new plans were due.

Mr Osborne announced plans to cut £4.4bn from the tax credits system in his summer Budget, as part of plans to save £12bn from the welfare bill.

Opponents of the changes, due to come into effect in April, say more than 1m existing recipients - many of whom work but are on low incomes - could be £1,300 a year worse off as a result.

In October, Welsh Conservatives leader Andrew RT Davies said he agreed with the principle behind the changes but called for them to be "phased in".

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