Lisburn faces the third highest loss of spending power across Northern Ireland as a result of Tory tax credit cuts, according to analysis by trade union GMB.
Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said he feared what he called the “disproportionate” impact of the cuts on working families locally would drive some into poverty and out of work.
The GMB claims 80% of 7,100 families in Lisburn will face a loss in spending power of £7,005,939 as a result of cuts announced in Chancellor George Osborne’s recent budget; only Londonderry (£8,683,418) and Belfast (£16,676,109) stand to lose more.
A spokesperson said, “The Tory Government in the July budget announced a minimum cut of £23.72 per week for four out of five in-work families in receipt of tax credits . . . This means the loss of income to households and loss of spending power in local economies in Northern Ireland will be a minimum of £111 million per year.
“In April 2015 there were 112,500 families in Northern Ireland getting in-work benefits; latest figures show that they got an average of £124.63 per week.”
Mr Donaldson said of the GMB analysis: “These figures demonsatrate that what the Chancellor is proposing will hit many families in the Lagan Valley constituency, including many working families who rely on tax credits to give them that little bit extra to provide for things like childcare, which enables them to go out and work for income.
“I fear these proposals will drive some families into poverty and, in some cases, out of work, so that runs contrary to the government’s view that what they want to do is encourage people into work and off benefits; there is a balance to be struck.
“It was for this reason that I and my colleagues voted against the budget and I voted against the finance bill which seeks to implement the changes to tax credits, because I believe this proposal will have a disproportionate impact on many woking famiies within this constituency.”