Friday, 24 October 2014

Helping People On Low Incomes

This week in my Crawley Observer column, I have written about how the Conservatives are helping those on modest incomes. Labour like to claim this territory as their own but the reality is that it is the Conservatives who are the party of social mobility and who are making being in work better than being on benefits.

Working at minimum wage for 30 hours - you'll pay zero Income Tax
"Last year under the Conservatives, Crawley Borough Council led by example and became one of the first Conservative-run Councils nationwide to become an accredited Living Wage employer. This means that the Council paid all its employees an independently set amount by the Living Wage Foundation that is considered enough to live off. As the economy improves, more employers should be able to afford to pay a living wage and the Council encourages other employers to pay it where possible.

Encouraging the Living Wage is just one aspect of the Conservatives helping the least well-off. This should be viewed as part of a wider package of measures, all of which are underpinned by the Conservatives long-term economic plan. While Labour may choose to ignore this fact, we shouldn’t be under any illusion that getting the economy right is fundamental to helping ordinary people and the least well-off get on in life.
A key policy has been raising the income tax allowance from £6,475 in 2010 to £10,000 this year. Next April the tax-free allowance will rise to £10,500 a year and David Cameron has pledged it will rise to £12,500 in the next parliament. This will take a further one million workers out of income tax altogether and anyone on the minimum wage (which has just risen to £6.50 an hour) working 30 hours a week, will not have to pay a penny of income tax.

The Conservatives have also frozen Council Tax since 2010 and next April will see the fifth successive annual freeze, meaning that in real terms it has reduced whereas under the last Labour government, Council Tax doubled.
Making work pay and getting those who can work off benefits has been crucial to having the highest ever number of people in employment whereas Labour cynically opposed every benefit reform, preferring people to languish on benefits at public expense. Labour may claim with words to be the party that will help the low-paid, but the reality is that it is the actions of the Conservatives that show we are the party that helps those on modest incomes."

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