Clause 11 — Tax relief for married couples and civil partners

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 2:45 pm on 9th April 2014.

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Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous Conservative, South West Bedfordshire 2:45 pm, 9th April 2014

There is relatively good news on the under-occupancy penalty. More families have been able to move, with nearly 200,000 one and two-bedroom properties available for families to move into. I have seen families who are better off because they are paying lower rent and lower heating bills, or are nearer a bus stop or a sick or disabled relative. We must remember the 1.7 million people on social housing waiting lists and the 300,000 people who are very overcrowded.

The general point the hon. Gentleman makes is of course important. There are many stresses on families today. The Government are cognisant of that fact and are introducing a whole suite of policies—freezing council tax and fuel duty, increasing the personal allowance and increasing in the minimum wage—to try to make life easier for people. The good news on jobs and growth will also make things easier. We should not seek to divide people. As has alrea been said today, we know that over half of lone parents believe strongly that there should be both a mother and a father involved in bringing up children. That is something we need to remember as well.

I strongly support what the Government are doing. The sum can always be increased when the public finances allow it—at present, the Chancellor is playing with a limited amount of money—and we are returning to a policy that was well supported until 2000 and is common among OECD countries. I ask Members to focus on the widespread extent of family breakdown in our country, and to see this as one important policy for increasing the family stability which we know is so important to children.