16:14 GMT25 February 2020
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    The UK government is facing more pressure to relax its austerity policies, with MPs calling an urgent meeting to discuss the Conservative party's plans to cut tax credits, following fears the policy would severely hurt some of the country's poorest people.

    Following heated public and political debate over the government's plans to slash the tax credits of Britain's lowest earners, a cross-party committee of MPs are to meet on Monday for an urgent discussion on the effects such policies would have on those affected by the proposed changes.

    The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee will take evidence from economists and researchers about the impacts of the planned cuts in relation to proposed increases in the minimum wage, which have been designed to offset any damage.

    The decision to call the urgent meeting adds more pressure to Prime Minister David Cameron over the issue, and follows the release of a research paper from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Resolution Foundation (IFS), which found that the increase to the National Living Wage would come "nowhere near" compensating families affected by the tax credit cuts.

    The IFS warned that close to 3 million of the UK's poorest families would lose US$1,547 (£1,000) a year if the government's changes go ahead.

    'Something Must Give'

    At present, the government provides wage top-ups, also known as tax credits, to approximately 4.5 million workers on low incomes.

    Conservative party officials say the program is contributing to the country's "unsustainable" welfare bill and have pledged to scrap tax credits, while introducing an increase in tax breaks and raising the national living wage to offset any losses.

    However, many have blasted the plans, including the Conservative's own MP Heidi Allen, who accused the PM and Chancellor George Osborne of going "too hard and too fast" with the proposals.

    "As these proposals stand, too many people will be adversely affected. Something must give." 

    Cameron has remained defiant on the issue, saying he was "delighted" the proposals passed through Britain's lower of house of parliament, the House of Commons.

    However, those words may come back to haunt the prime minister, given the upcoming review into the proposed tax credit cuts, with many commentators suggesting that the drama only reinforces the 'nasty Tory' image of the party as one that looks after the rich by hurting the poor.

    Cameron perhaps suffered another foot-in-mouth moment in parliament when he seemingly dismissed a United Nations investigation into the treatment of disable people by the British government, saying that such probes aren't all they are "cracked up to be."

    "Of course I will look at any United Nations investigation but sometimes when you look at these investigations they are not necessarily all they are originally cracked up to be," he said.


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    austerity measures, committee, domestic politics, fiscal policy, income, pensions, wages, benefits, tax breaks, poverty, economy, House of Commons, Conservative Party, George Osborne, David Cameron, United Kingdom
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