The Rt Hon Stephen McPartland

Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage,voted against Government changes to Tax Credits in Parliament today to stand up for those on low pay.

Stephen McPartland MP said, "I stood up for those on low pay and voted against Government changes to Tax Credits today.

"At one point it seemed possible that we could win the vote, every opposition party in the House of Commons plus a small band of independent minded Conservatives. The pressure on the Government was immense and we hoped these changes would be withdrawn at the last minute. However, internal divisions in the Labour Party made it impossible to organise and we got a glimpse of the next five years. Labour talking to itself, instead of being Her Majesty's Opposition. We started to lose faith in a victory and the Government held their nerve.

"I did not want to vote against the Government, it is not an easy process or a pleasant experience I can assure you, but sometimes it is necessary. I could not reach an agreement with the Government, so I could not support the changes and voted against the Government.

"I do agree with the Government that tax credits need to be reformed, they are so complex no one really understands them as no two families are affected in the same way. Millions of families struggle with the forms and my surgeries are full of people who have made errors and are asked to pay large amounts back to the taxman. Millions of other families never receive the money they are entitled too and there has to be a better way. A fairer way.

"Unfortunately, the simple fact is that for those families on very low incomes, such as a teaching assistant, then the changes today will hurt them not help them. They cannot increase the hours they work and they are subject to a 1% pay cap, so some families would be hit a lot harder than others. I stood up for them today, because they get up and go to work for about £11,000 a year instead of living on welfare. These families are trying to work and should be rewarded by a welfare system that is fair and helps them move forward in life. These are the forgotten voters that Labour has left behind and we have not managed to reach yet. These are the families that help provide some of the most basic services we take for granted every day. I stood with them today and I will work with the Government to ensure we reach out and bring them into our family, so everyone who works and wants to get on in life will feel at home in the Conservative Party."

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