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Working Tax Credit

Volume 543: debated on Tuesday 24 April 2012

15. What assessment he has made of the effect of changes to working tax credit on couples in households where one person is retired. (104804)

Working tax credit is a payment for working households that was introduced by the previous Government to improve work incentives. Retirement is not recognised in the tax credit system. However, there are separate eligibility rules for those over 60, and a level of income for those in retirement is guaranteed by pension credit.

My constituent, Mrs Orr, is losing £290 a month as a result of the tax credit changes. She lives with her husband, who is retired, and her 13-year-old daughter. She works for 20 hours a week at Crosshouse hospital and has tried to increase her contractual hours, but has been unable to do so. She works any overtime that is available. How do you suggest that she makes ends meet?

I thank the hon. Lady for raising that example in which the couple’s ages are more distant from each other than is the norm. She makes an interesting point. However, as I said in my initial answer, there are arrangements for those over 60 and for those in retirement in the tax credit system, the pensions system and other benefit systems. As I have said in previous Question Times, the economy is moving, there are work vacancies out there and we believe that the changes to working tax credit are fair. For example, they place couples on a par with lone parents.