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Working Families Tax Credit

Volume 600: debated on Thursday 15 October 2015

8. What comparative assessment she has made of the potential effect on women and men of proposed changes to working families tax credit; and if she will make a statement. (901563)

The Government want to move from a low-wage, high-tax, low-welfare—I mean, high-welfare—society to a high-tax—[Laughter.] This was always going to happen one day; I apologise profusely. We want to move to a high-wage, lower tax, lower welfare society, and this includes some changes to tax credits to help put benefit spending on a more sustainable path. The impact of those changes on different groups with protected characteristics, including gender, has been considered by Treasury Ministers as part of the overall summer Budget package.

The Minister says that it has been considered, but it has not been acted upon. We know that benefits such as child tax credit are twice as big a proportion of women’s income as they are of men’s. He will recall that in August 2014 the Prime Minister said that

“every single domestic policy that government comes up with will be examined for its impact on the family.”

What was the examination in relation to child tax credit, and what has he done about it?

We are in the process of delivering on our deficit reduction imperative, which the House had an opportunity to debate last night. The reductions in tax credits are an important part of that, but they form part of a package, along with measures such as the national living wage, childcare and changes in the personal allowances for income tax. As a result of the income tax change, 660,000 individuals will be lifted out of income tax, 60% of whom will be women. We believe that about two thirds of the beneficiaries of the national living wage will also be women.