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Working Families Tax Credit

Volume 401: debated on Tuesday 18 March 2003

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the results of the WFTC/DPTC evaluation programme will be released. [100793]

The results of the WFTC/DPTC evaluation programme will be published in due course.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the reasons for miscalculation of working families' tax credit by the Inland Revenue; how many people were affected; what steps have been taken to correct the miscalculations; how much it has cost to correct the miscalculations; and if he will make a statement. [102508]

The small percentage of miscalculations in assessing applications for Working Families' Tax Credit (WFTC) arise for a variety of reasons, most commonly problems with the accuracy of the calculation of weekly or monthly earnings in the period leading up to the application. For the new Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, which supersede WFTC, entitlement is not based on earnings for a specified period immediately before the claim. Therefore, the reason for miscalculation within WFTC should be eliminated in future.For the 2001–02 financial year, the latest full year for which figures are available, over 90 per cent. of all WFTC applications were correctly assessed to the nearest penny. In those cases where a miscalculation is detected, action is taken to correct all underpayments and any overpayments that exceed one pound per week. No information is available on the cost of correcting these mistakes. As confirmed by the National Audit Office, the level of errors made in assessing WFTC applications is low in proportion to the aggregate amount paid.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to publish figures for working families tax credit take-up in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03. [102993]

No reliable estimate of the take-up rate of the working families' tax credit in 2001–02 can be attempted until the Family Resources Survey for that year is analysed.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the Department for Work and Pensions concerning the potential for increased claims against the Social Fund, with particular reference to meeting the costs of additional alignment payments, during the introduction of the new tax credits. [102994]

The Department for Work and Pensions is working with the Inland Revenue to ensure that there is a seamless transition to the new tax credits system and that there is good liaison between the two organisations to ensure that awards of both tax credits and social security benefits are made promptly to people in the most urgent need. We do not expect to see increased claims for Social Fund alignment payments under the new tax credits.