Tax Credits

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 12th January 2012.

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Photo of Jon Ashworth Jon Ashworth Opposition Whip (Commons) 10:30 am, 12th January 2012

What assessment she has made of the effect of changes to tax credits on the income of women.

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for the Home Department

We have had to take tough decisions to protect the economy. The UK has an unprecedented budget deficit, and spending on tax credits has become unsustainable. The savings from changes announced in the autumn statement allow us to take further steps to protect the most vulnerable, including significant increases in child care support to help women and families to get back into work.

Photo of Jon Ashworth Jon Ashworth Opposition Whip (Commons)

The Secretary of State will be aware that the median income of households with children is set to fall in real terms, so does she think it fair that a family with children are set to lose £1,250 annually, whereas a family with no children are set to lose £215?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for the Home Department

We are aware that things are difficult for families. That is why the Government are taking a number of steps to help families, such as cutting fuel duty, freezing council tax and taking more than 1 million people out of paying income tax altogether, more than half of whom will be women.

Photo of Gloria De Piero Gloria De Piero Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

On protecting women’s income, what safeguards are in place to ensure that charging people to use the Child Support Agency does not push mums who cannot afford to pay into further hardship?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for the Home Department

I have had a number of conversations with the Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my hon. Friend Maria Miller on the arrangements for access to the Child Support Agency. I am happy to say that the Department for Work and Pensions has put arrangements in place that, I believe, will make access affordable for women. We are taking steps to ensure that, in particular, women who have been subject to domestic violence are catered for.