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Welfare Tax Credits

Volume 460: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many people in (a) England, (b) Gloucestershire and (c) Forest of Dean constituency were paid tax credits in each of the last five years. (138796)

New tax credits were introduced in April 2003, and are currently in their fifth year of operation.

Estimates for the number of in-work families with tax credit awards by country, county, and constituency (based on final family circumstances and incomes for 2003-04 and 2004-05) are published in "Child and Working Tax Credits. Finalised Awards 2003-04 Geographical Analysis" and "Child and Working Tax Credits. Finalised Awards 2004-05 Geographical Analysis". These publications are available on the HMRC website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/cwtc-geog-stats.htm

Figures for 2005-06 were published on Tuesday 22 May.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, (1) what estimate he has made of the impact on poverty of a rate of tax credit take-up of 100 per cent; (139037)

(2) what estimate he has made of the potential impact of an increased claimant rate among those eligible for tax credits on poverty levels among this group.

Tax credits play a key role in making work pay and reducing poverty, and have helped to lift 600,000 children out of relative poverty since 1996-97. Latest statistics show that take-up of tax credits for families with children was 82 per cent. in 2004-05, rising to 97 per cent. for those on low incomes, significantly higher than for previous comparable systems of support. HMRC has in place a programme of activity further to raise take-up of tax credits amongst eligible families, which will contribute to the Government's objective of halving child poverty by 2010. No estimate has been made yet of the precise contribution that 100 per cent. take-up of tax credits would make to reducing poverty.