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Tax Credits

Volume 589: debated on Tuesday 9 December 2014

Tax credits provide financial support to low-income households. In April 2014 there were 3.3 million families in work receiving tax credits. That had fallen from 4.8 million in April 2010. In total there are 4.7 million families receiving tax credits, 71% of whom are in work.

Formally the group of questions falls if the Member with the lead is absent but I dare say we can improvise.

Thousands of hard-working families in my constituency have been bit by tax credit cuts, a £300 increase in their energy bills, the bedroom tax and the increase in VAT. This Government offer tax cuts to millionaires and porridge and food banks to low-paid workers. When will the Government allow British workers to share in the wealth of this country?

It is fair to say that this Government ensure that people are better off in work, in stark contrast to the failed dependency policies of the Labour party. We are the party in government that has taken action to support people on low incomes by increasing the personal allowance, taking 3.2 million people on low incomes out of tax altogether and increasing the national minimum wage. We should all remember which party was responsible for the cost of living crisis; it was Labour’s great recession. We are the Government who have frozen fuel duty and council tax and it is our policies that are now leading to growth in the economy.

The latest figures show that the number of individuals classed as being in in-work poverty has fallen by 300,000 since this Government came to office, at the same time as an extra 2 million people are in work. What Government measures does my hon. Friend think have contributed to this rise in people’s income?

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. It is fair to say that this Government are not returning to the failed policies of the past as seen under the Labour party. The key measure explaining why we have had so much growth in our economy is our focus on our long-term economic plan, which is securing a better future for our economy, for the country and, of course, for hard-working taxpayers.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Will the Minister confirm that 10 million households will be affected by the two-year freeze on tax credits and benefits and that the average household will be £974 worse off? This will hit working people the most, and women in particular, so will the Government reconsider their position?

I come back to my earlier point about employment increasing and more women being in work than ever before. When it comes to tax credits, universal credit will go on to replace the current complex and broken system of means-tested benefits—introduced by the Labour party, by the way—and we are the party that has supported people to get into work and reduce dependency rather than confining them to dependency and welfare.