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Tax Credit System

Volume 404: debated on Thursday 8 May 2003

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What representations he has received about the administration of the tax credit system. [11189]

My statement to the House last week reflected a range of representations received about the two new tax credits—child tax credit and working tax credit—currently being introduced. I made it clear then that more than 4 million claims have already been received and that, along with the 1.3 million families who will get the benefit of the increased generosity of the child tax credit through income support or jobseeker's allowance this year, more than three quarters of the number of families that we expected to get the new credits have therefore already either claimed or are benefiting from them. I also said last week that all claimants whose claims were received by the Inland Revenue by Friday 25 April would be contacted and either be in payment or have received inquiries from the Inland Revenue to complete their forms by the end of this week.

May I take the Paymaster General back to the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Eddisbury (Mr. O'Brien), which she did not quite answer? Will she tell the House what was the Government's original estimate of the cost of setting up and administering the child tax credit and the working tax credit? Has the administrative cost subsequently increased?

If my memory serves me correctly, the figure given to the House on the budget for setting up the new tax credits was about £300 million, and I can confirm that we are well within budget, as we always are.