Benefit Changes (Women)

Chancellor of the Exchequer – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 6th December 2011.

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Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Shadow Minister (Energy and Climate Change) 2:30 pm, 6th December 2011

What assessment he has made of the effects on women of the changes to child tax credit and working tax credit proposed in his autumn statement.

Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Exchequer Secretary

The Chancellor considered the equality impacts of the changes to tax credits announced in the autumn statement, which included an assessment of the effects on women.

Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Shadow Minister (Energy and Climate Change)

That was not an answer to my question. Figures from the House of Commons Library show that since the election changes to tax, pensions, pay and benefits are hitting women more than twice as hard as they are hitting men. Of the extra £18.9 billion that is being raised, £13.2 billion comes from women, with just £5 billion or so coming from men. This is the biggest attack on women in a generation. Will the Minister tell us what his Government have against women?

Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Exchequer Secretary

Let us look at some of the measures we have taken that will help women and families—the additional support for child care announced last week, for example. The increase in the personal allowance for income tax will take 1.1 million people out of paying income tax at all—and 58% of them are women.

Photo of Margot James Margot James Conservative, Stourbridge

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is important for us to target the women who need the money most, and that the plans to double investment in child care and free education for children from disadvantaged families must be beneficial in these times?

Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Exchequer Secretary

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We are taking steps that will provide better opportunities for children, and measures such as the increase in child care provision will help women in particular.