Living Standards

Part of Opposition Day — [Un-allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 3:19 pm on 30th November 2011.

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Photo of Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 3:19 pm, 30th November 2011

Seen over the whole period of this Parliament, and taking into account things such as lifting the tax allowances, the commitment of the coalition to lift them further before the end of the Parliament, and a whole variety of the points that I have already laid out, I do not agree with the hon. Lady. When Opposition Members look back, they will realise that the introduction of the universal credit will result in positive work incentives and we will get people back to work, as we are already doing.

I have already mentioned some of the things that have been introduced in the past year and a half, and yesterday the Chancellor also announced reforms to support working families which no Opposition Member has taken into consideration. We have deferred the fuel duty increase planned for January and cancelled the inflation increase planned for August 2012. The tax on petrol will be a full 10p lower than it would have been without our action in the Budget this autumn, and that means that families will save £144 on filling up the average family car by the end of next year. Fuel and the cost of driving are a very big driver of poverty and we are doing something about it. We are also regulating the rise in fares on national rail, the London tube and London buses, and we have already offered councils the resources for another year’s freeze in council tax, which I hope they all take up. Our plans to raise personal tax allowances will pull over 1 million people out of tax altogether, which is a big incentive for people to go back to work. When the Opposition complain about changes to working tax credits, they should remember their punitive decision to abolish the 10p starting rate of tax. They did not care what happened to the poorest in society.