MORE than 5,500 poorer families across the Merseyside area will be hit by a "tax credits bombshell" within weeks, Labour has warned – losing nearly £4,000 a year.
The alarm was raised over little-noticed changes that will affect couples in lowly-paid part-time work who receive the income top-ups from the Government.
At present, parents are eligible for working tax credit if they work 16 hours a week, but from April 6 that threshold will be raised to 24 hours a week.
Yet the switch – announced by Chancellor George Osborne – comes at a time when many staff are being forced to cut back their hours because of the economic slump.
One-in-five employers have slashed hours, according to a recent survey by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, while only 6% have increased them.
Rachel Reeves, Labour's Treasury spokeswoman, warned that couples earning less than around £17,700 would lose £3,870 a year – unless they increased their hours to 24 each week.
She said: "This tax credits bombshell is now just a few weeks away.