To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people he estimates will lose (a) passported benefits, (b) income support and (c) council tax benefits as a result of the introduction of tax credits.
[holding answer 20 June 2003]: There are a wide range of passported benefits and it is not possible to say how many people may lose entitlement as a result of new tax credits. However where free school meals and welfare foods were previously only available to families on income support and income-based jobseeker's allowance, eligibility has been extended to low income families who receive child tax credit (but not working tax credit). Entitlement to sure start maternity grants and funeral payments has also been extended to include families who receive more than the family element of child tax credit, or a disability or severe disability element of working tax credit. Families on low incomes will remain entitled to milk tokens and help with health costs.We estimate that around 70,000 families will move off income support or income-based jobseeker's allowance and then receive a higher income as a result of the increased generosity of new tax credits. These families can receive tax credits information and help from their local Jobcentre Plus office.The introduction of child tax credit has caused no changes to the rules for claiming council tax benefit. As before, it is adjusted to take into account tax credit income, being withdrawn steadily, at a rate of 20p in the pound, to ensure families always benefit from any increase in their income (whether from the new tax credits or any other source). Families who move off income support and income-based jobseeker's allowance need to make a standard claim to council tax benefit and they can be helped to do this by staff at their local Jobcentre Plus office.