“The Chancellor is right to focus on building a prosperous UK with higher pay and lower welfare and the role of raising pay and productivity to achieve this. The move to create a national wage which reflects living costs is an important and welcome recognition that the minimum wage falls well short of achieving an adequate standard of living.
“The £12 billion cuts to welfare have however been targeted at low-income working families, most of whom rely on tax credits to make work pay. Higher income from increasing the national minimum wage and the personal tax allowance will go some way towards closing the gap, but cutting support before the jobs market has had the chance to respond is a dangerous gamble. The cuts in tax credits and the reduction of the work allowance in Universal Credit, means that working families on low incomes will find it even harder to make ends meets.
“We need a credible long-term plan to make work more secure, build more affordable homes and lower essential bills, or times will simply get tougher for those on low incomes.”