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Income Tax

Volume 572: debated on Tuesday 10 December 2013

This year 2.4 million low earners have been taken out of income tax since 2010. The number will increase further to 2.7 million next April, once the personal allowance reaches the £10,000 goal that we set in our election manifesto. By next year, the Government’s increases to the personal allowance will have reduced income tax bills by up to £705 a year for 26 million working people in this country.

The policy is important for a fairer society, and it incentivises work. Does my right hon. Friend share my aspiration to raise the tax threshold to £10,500 and achieve equality up to the age of 74, and, in due course, further increase the threshold for all age groups to incentivise both work and savings for lower and middle-income groups?

I very much share my hon. Friend’s ambition for this policy. We should consider a threshold of at least £10,500 in this Parliament, and that will be an objective of my Liberal Democrat party. It would be right for the age-related threshold and the main threshold, once they are aligned, to rise in tandem thereafter.

18. Does the Chief Secretary share the concerns of Citizens Advice that changes to the threshold are more than swamped by the changes to benefits in other areas? (901531)

No, I do not share that analysis. It ignores the fact that increases to the personal allowance, along with many of our reforms to the welfare system, increase substantially the incentives for people to go into work. The private sector has created a net 1.4 million jobs since 2010, so there are more job opportunities to go around too.

The Chancellor last week published evidence showing that his bold cuts to corporation tax more or less paid for themselves because of the extra economic activity they generated. Can a similar piece of work not be done to demonstrate that further cuts in income tax will also pay for themselves in a similar way?

What does the Chief Secretary intend to do to help low-paid workers who are below the tax threshold? They will not gain from a further increase in the tax threshold and have seen previous gains wiped out by the loss of tax credits. How will it help low-paid workers?

I intend to stick to our economic plan, which is leading to economic growth, job creation and a sustainable economic recovery matched by rising productivity. That is the only way to raise living standards and that is what we intend to do.

Does the deputy Chancellor agree that we make a lot of the number of people taken out of tax, but do not say enough on how everybody benefits from the personal allowance increase? It is effectively a cut in income tax.

I am grateful, as always, to my hon. Friend for his question. He is absolutely right: it is a huge cut in income tax. In fact, over the course of this Parliament and before we take any decisions on next year’s Budget, we are already committed to spending £38 billion to reduce the income tax of working people. That is a massive commitment from this Government to cut income tax for the working people of the United Kingdom.