Treasury Questions

Tax Credits

11. Chris Ruane (Vale of Clwyd) (Lab): What proportion of recipients of tax credits are in employment. [906519]
13. Yasmin Qureshi (Bolton South East) (Lab): How many employed people are in receipt of tax credits. [906521]
The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (Priti Patel): 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.
Mr Speaker: Formally the group of questions falls if the Member with the lead is absent but I dare say we can improvise.
Chris Ruane: 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?
Priti Patel: 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.
Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire) (Con): 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?
Priti Patel: 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.
Yasmin Qureshi rose—
Mr Speaker: The hon. Lady’s opportunity is now. Her moment has arrived; her voice should be heard.
Yasmin Qureshi: 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?
Priti Patel: 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.

Topical Question

T2. [906534] Mr Stewart Jackson (Peterborough) (Con): My constituents in Peterborough who work at Thomas Cook and many families with young children will have been delighted by the announcement on children’s air passenger duty in last week’s autumn statement. Will the Exchequer Secretary give an undertaking that she will continue to monitor the impact of air passenger duty on tourism and the family budget and not rule out further cuts in the near future?
The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (Priti Patel): I thank my hon. Friend for his question. The reductions in air passenger duty announced last week are to be welcomed not just by his constituents and by Thomas Cook but by hard-working families across the country. As with all other taxes, air passenger duty will be kept under review, taking into account our commitment to creating sustainable public finances alongside helping households and, of course, the tourism industry.


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A12/A120 Consultations

Strategic Road Network Consultations

There are two important consultations running at the moment on key strategic road infrastructure improvements - the A12 widening scheme and the upgrading of the A120. Priti has been campaigning to secure new investment in these roads and has welcomed the consultations taking place. Members of the public can review the proposals for the A12 and A120 at the weblinks below, attend consultation events, and respond to the consultation. Feel free to also contact Priti by email to: [email protected] with your views too.

Widening the A12

Upgrading the A120

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