Since the budget, I have been concerned about the tax credit cuts and have written about the impact on low income families. These views were heard on television this week when I took part on the Victoria Derbyshire show to discuss the proposed cuts with a couple of MPs and a member of the Lords.
I’ll admit to being petrified. It was a live show and there was no rehearsal of questions. I knew there was a real possibility to look very stupid on national television. However, I also wanted to convey my opinions on tax credits in the hope that someone may sit up and listen. After all, if nobody speaks out, nothing changes. We all need to have our voices heard by those in power.
There were varied responses, as I knew there would be. The negative comments were mostly criticisms of the number of children that I have. I responded to this on the show but there have still been criticisms on Twitter. However, there have also been positive comments and support from those who agreed with my points.
It made me realise that you need a pretty hard skin if you want to speak about a controversial issue in a public arena and I admire those that regularly speak out as I couldn’t do it. Once is more than enough.
As I said, the show is live, I didn’t know the questions in advance and I was incredibly nervous. In addition, there isn’t a long time to speak. As a result, I know that I didn’t get everything across that I wanted to or in the way that I wanted to.
For example, I said that Osborne is punishing working people through his cuts rather than those not working. I was trying to show that the Tories policy of ‘Making Work Pay’ contradicts with their proposed cuts to tax credits that are for working people. It wasn’t trying to attack unemployed people as I know that many are not working due to being disabled, a carer, being made redundant, home-schooling or illness. With hindsight, I wish I had expanded my comment to explain this.
I’m still being criticised for having 6 children, despite explaining the situation in response to the comments on live television. I could have explained that the reason I am single is due to domestic violence or that I am a carer to my daughter who has medical needs, but I didn’t want to make myself look like a victim. I wanted to show them that I am a strong, able, intelligent woman who is working hard to pay her taxes despite life throwing a few curve balls. I wanted to show them that those on tax credits aren’t the stereotype that the Government portrays us as.
Not everyone who watched will agree with my views. I am totally fine with that. I am glad that we live in a free thinking and expressive society. But I do hope that they listened with the respect that I would listen to their views.
To see the interview on the Victoria Derbyshire, watch this clip from 10 minutes to 22 minutes.