The Thick of It

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Emily Thornberry and poverty in Islington

Thank you to Emily Thornberry's office (MP for Islington South and Finsbury) for putting some useful statistics my way on how unemployment levels and tax credits have helped people in her constituency. This follows yesterday's post citing a Telegraph article claiming that some of Thornberry's consituents are among the most depenedent on benefits in the country.

In last year's budget debate, Ms Thornberry cited that:

"In Islington, South and Finsbury that means that, whereas unemployment was up at 5,319 when Labour came to power in 1997, it has now more than halved to 2,386.

"Here is an example of where our policies have helped one of my constituents. Ms B is a single parent who works about 20 hours a week as a nursery nurse. Her net wages—the Liberal Democrats should listen to this; I urge them to change their ideas on tax credits—are only £127 a week, which is about the same amount that she would get if she stayed at home on benefits. However, working tax credit, child tax credit and child benefit together contribute another £123 a week, bringing her total to £250 a week. Now that really is making work pay."

So getting people back into work and making it worthwhile financially to do so are so important. However, subsidising low pay is not ideal and therefore we need a higher skill set so that the jobs people get actually pay them properly.

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