Osborne defends tax credits move after Tory conference cuts protest


Chancellor George Osborne has defended his decision to slash tax credits, insisting that protesters who demonstrated against the cuts were not "representative" of public opinion.

An estimated 60,000 people brought central Manchester to a halt on Sunday as they marched on the Conservative annual conference, demanding an end to austerity and the preservation of tax credits.

The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned that 13 million families will lose an average of £240 a year when the cuts come into effect in April, while 3 million will lose £1,000 or more.

Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday resisted pressure from former Tory minister David Willetts to review the Chancellor's plans and "ease" the cuts in next month's Autumn Statement.

But Mr Osborne said a "typical" family with one person working full-time on the national minimum wage will be better off overall, when all of the Government's changes to benefits, income tax allowances and the establishment of a new "national living wage" are taken into account.

And he said that maintaining tax credits at their current level would force the Government to divert money away from priorities like health and education.

Mr Osborne told ITV1's Good Morning Britain: "What we are offering ... is  a new settlement where we get lower welfare bills, but we get higher wages and lower taxes too, there's help with free childcare, and we also live in a country that lives within its means and that provides security to every working family.

"That's the new settlement and we've got to get on with it if we are going to deliver a country that offers jobs and opportunity in the future."