Oh dear, since all the petitions I signed didn’t make a difference and parliament voted for the changes to working tax credits this week I’ve just emailed my local MP with my views on the matter. A copy of my email is below. It turned into a bit of a rant. I’ll be surprised if he replies at all. Usually he just spouts the party line. I don’t think he will care much as he’s in a very safe seat anyway. Plenty of rich folk around here who will keep voting him in. He has only lost his seat once in my lifetime.
It’s fantastic to see members of your party taking a stand for the working poor.
I’m emailing to ask you to join them.
Cuts to tax credits will impact so many hard working families in our constituency.
On a personal note, I have multiple sclerosis and am fairly fortunate because, thanks to the excellent care and disease modifying drug I receive from Addenbrooke’s hospital, I am not too badly affected in terms of my mobility. Walking is painful and slow after about 15 minutes but I am still able to work 30 hours per week term time only in a school in an administrative role. I do struggle at the end of each half term though as the fatigue is severe and I need to sleep increasing amounts after six weeks of working these hours. I also have a second job typing from home on a zero hours contract working on average 2 hours per week to boost my income. Despite this, I still rely on working tax credits to support me.
I am currently receiving the lowest rate of Disability Living Allowance and am dreading the invitation to transfer to PIP as I am fairly certain I will not qualify under the descriptors of this replacement benefit.
If my tax credits are cut, I honestly do not know how I will survive. Please do not try to tell me that they will be protected for those with a disability because as mentioned above I fear that after being assessed for PIP, I will no longer be classed as ‘disabled’ and so will not qualify for tax credits under this definition.
I have no dependent children so do not receive free child care and will not benefit from the so called increase in ‘living wage’ as my hourly rate is above that already. Quite simply, I am facing a fall in income because I have a chronic condition which restricts my ability to work but according to new DWP descriptors I am perfectly capable of working full time and in time I will find I do not qualify for tax credits either. I suppose that must just make me work-shy then?
I am now actively seeking full time employment in the certainty that this will have a severe impact on my health. In the past whenever I have tried to fight the fatigue it has led to a major relapse and sometimes a hospital stay. How does that make economic sense (since that seems to be the only thing a Conservative government is concerned with)? Ultimately I fear that working full time may well lead to progression of my disease which is the one thing I have been doing my best to avoid so far. However, I feel I am now backed into a corner by these cruel policies with no other option.
The government simply has not given sufficient consideration to the impact of these cuts to hard working people who are not ‘scroungers’ or ‘skivers’ as the right wing media like to portray them. Like me, the majority of people claiming tax credits are simply doing the best they can to survive whilst their salaries (like mine) are frozen whilst their outgoings are increasing year on year.
How does it make economic sense to force families into personal debt for the most basic of human needs? If I have less income, I cannot spend money, therefore local businesses will see a fall in trade, multiply that by the households in this area that will be similarly affected and this could be a disaster for the local economy.
I apologise that this email turned into a bit of a rant but I do have very strong feelings on this issue.
Please can you speak out against these unfair cuts?
I very much look forward to your reply although I do not expect it to say much except the usual platitudes.