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Personal Allowances

Volume 597: debated on Tuesday 16 June 2015

The Government are committed to raising the personal allowance to £12,500 and the higher-rate threshold to £50,000 by the end of this Parliament, but we will go further than that and ensure that in future people who work 30 hours a week for the minimum wage will not pay income tax.

Can the Minister provide an estimate of the number of people in my constituency of Cannock Chase who will benefit from the implementation of the Conservative manifesto pledge to increase the personal allowance to £12,500?

My hon. Friend is right to highlight the broad benefit of our policy. Increases in the personal allowance and the higher-rate threshold during the current Parliament will benefit 30 million people. It is not possible to make reliable projections for an individual parliamentary constituency, but I can tell my hon. Friend that 2.28 million taxpayers in the west midlands have benefited from personal allowance increases to date, and that a typical basic-rate taxpayer is £825 better off.

Apart from specific tax steps, what steps is the Minister taking to ensure that employers actually pay the minimum wage?

Minimum wage compliance is, of course, vital, and work in that regard is ongoing. Universal credit encourages people to work more hours, and, in general, they should be doing higher-paid work.

Will my hon. Friend join me in welcoming the fact that this Government, more than any other, have made quality childcare accessible to hard-working families?

My hon. Friend is right. The suite of childcare support that the Government are providing for families is unprecedented. It includes the doubling of provision for three and four-year-olds, the extension of provision under universal credit, and tax-free childcare.

Order. I think that the Minister meant to use the phrase “affordably, thereby enabling people also to keep more of their earnings.” I am sure that that is what he meant to say.

Will the Minister assure us that, as part of ensuring that people keep more of their incomes in their pockets, the Chancellor will not increase fuel duty in the forthcoming Budget?

During the last Parliament, the Government made difficult decisions in order to keep fuel duty frozen and save motorists £9 every time their tanks were filled. Of course, no decisions of that kind are cost-free, and difficult measures had to be taken so that we could afford the freeze. All taxes are kept under review, and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor will announce the details in the Budget.