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Working Tax Credit

Volume 408: debated on Tuesday 7 October 2003

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14.

If he will make a statement on the introduction of the working tax credit.[124655]

The working and child tax credits were introduced in April and will provide an extra £2.7 billion support for families with children and low-income working households. The working tax credit continues to provide in-work support for families with children and disabled workers, and extends support to low-income working households without dependent children or a disability.

When the working families tax credit was introduced, one of my constituents was concerned that it did nothing for single people, particularly those on low wages. It remained a possibility, as in his case, that some one could be worse off in work than on benefit. That changed with the introduction of the working tax credit. My fear is that all the emphasis has been on support for children, while there has not been enough publicity for the benefits for single people. The working tax credit could make a huge difference to their lives. Will my right hon. Friend do more to publicise the difference that the working tax credit can make to single people in work?

My hon. Friend is correct that single people aged 25 or over are entitled to receive the working tax credit, as are couples without children. The publicity focused both on the child tax credit and on the working tax credit, but I agree that in the next phase of publicity it will be important to highlight the benefits of the working tax credit to single working people, and I would be happy to involve her in the consultation as we develop the strategies.