Frank Field (Birkenhead, Labour)
I shall make a short contribution and, as best I can, bring some of my constituents into the debate. The figures clearly show that large numbers of people in Birkenhead have been beneficiaries of the new tax credits system, but those who have come to the advice surgery, phoned and written to me all share one characteristic: they are all fairly poor. The question to which the Paymaster General suggested we should address ourselves today is not whether we all subscribe to the abolition of child poverty. Of course we do. The question that I pose, which the Opposition spokesman was not willing to answer, was whether we are spending £15 billion of taxpayers' money every year in the system in the most effective way to deal with child poverty.