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Community Charge

Volume 173: debated on Tuesday 5 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what will be the effect of the community charge on the numbers of working people caught in the poverty trap.

The latest figures showing the distribution of marginal deduction rates are contained in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr Squire) on 5 April 1990 at column 790. Earlier figures were published in table 14.19 of the "Government's Expenditure Plans 1990–91 to 1992–93" chapter 14 (Cm 1014). However, it is not possible to make meaningful comparisons in order to isolate the effect of the community charge owing to a number of changes which have occurred since the publication of table 14.19 and the fact that it would be necessary to speculate on what the level of general rates might have been had they remained in place.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment he has made of whether the income of those on income support is being reduced as a result of the introduction of the community charge; and if he will make a statement.

Everyone on income support is eligible for a maximum rebate of 80 per cent. of their community charge and income support levels were adjusted in April 1989 to provide help on an average basis towards the remaining 20 per cent. On average, therefore, the introduction of the community charge will have had a neutral effect on the incomes of those on income support.