In-work Benefits

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 5th November 2013.

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Photo of Dave Watts Dave Watts Labour, St Helens North 11:30 am, 5th November 2013

What assessment he has made of the effect of his spending plans on the cost of in-work benefits.

Photo of Nicky Morgan Nicky Morgan The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

The latest forecasts of benefits and tax credits are available online via the website of the Department for Work and Pensions. They are consistent with the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts and reflect the Government’s wider policy.

Photo of Dave Watts Dave Watts Labour, St Helens North

Will the Minister explain why she is allowing companies that are making massive profits to pay poverty wages that need a subsidy from the taxpayer through in-work benefits? Why does she not stop those companies sponging off the taxpayer and adopt a Labour policy of requiring companies that can well afford it to pay a living wage?

Photo of Nicky Morgan Nicky Morgan The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

It seems that even the shadow Chancellor has questions about a living wage policy, saying in 2010 that he was not sure about it. I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman did not talk about the fact that in the north-west and Merseyside 306,000 people have been taken out of paying income tax altogether as a result of this Government’s policies.

Photo of James Clappison James Clappison Conservative, Hertsmere

It was the case, was it not, that under the previous Government work simply did not pay because people who got into work found that a huge proportion of their extra income and, in some cases, all their extra income was clawed back by the complex benefits system? Will my hon. Friends redouble their efforts to make sure that work pays?

Photo of Nicky Morgan Nicky Morgan The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. He is absolutely right. This Government believe that work should always pay. By 2010, nine out of 10 working families had been made dependent on the state by the previous Government. This Government believe that families should keep more of their hard-earned money to spend on the things that are important to them.