New Clause 1 — Repeal of Tax Credits Regulations 2015

Part of Welfare Reform and Work Bill (Programme No. 3) – in the House of Commons at 1:45 pm on 27th October 2015.

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Photo of John Redwood John Redwood Conservative, Wokingham 1:45 pm, 27th October 2015

If the hon. Gentleman would listen carefully, he would know that that is why I say I support a strategy for prosperity that first promotes more people into better pay. I am not just talking about those who are currently on a low wage; I want someone on a better wage also to have the opportunity for more pay. Some of my constituents do; they will be promoted, they will work for smart employers in smarter ways, and they will get pay rises, although not all will. The more the Government can do to help, encourage and support, so that many more people can get those opportunities of better pay, the more we will like it. I hope the Opposition parties will agree that that is the best way to greater prosperity. It is also the best way to better jobs. If someone goes to work every day thinking that next year they might have a better job, a pay rise or a bonus they can benefit from, they will go with more of a spring in their step than if they are going to a low-paid job with a bad employer who is not giving them any options and not giving them a break in life. [Interruption.] I see that some Opposition Members think that that is a funny idea, but I hope they would join me in recommending this approach to employers in their constituency as well as in mine, as that is how we create a more prosperous society. I am just trying to stress that we also need to get taxes down.

That deals with the second pillar of this excellent strategy. We need better work and more better-paid work, and less tax on that work so that people are more prosperous. We then come to the difficult bit, which is the point of the row today, all of last week and probably all of next week, by the looks of how Parliament is going at the moment. The issue is: at what rate do you withdraw the benefits support as people become more prosperous because they are in work, not out of work, because they are in better-paid work and because they are paying less tax? There are difficult judgments to be made, and I am very pleased that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor is in listening mode. I look forward to his autumn statement—unlike the Labour party, I will be looking at all three elements of the package. I will be looking at pay and tax, as well as benefit withdrawal.

Perhaps unlike Labour, I want to end up in a world where far fewer people are on benefits, because their pay and the tax cuts are sufficient to give them a better lifestyle. We will then have a more affordable welfare system that enables us to run an economic policy more likely to deliver better prospects, more jobs and more success for business. As some of my Conservative colleagues have sought to point out, the problem the Opposition face is that no answer is coming from them. We know that they were able to overspend, over-borrow and crash the economy. We are now waiting to hear from them about how they would get the money under control, were they to be trusted again with government. We know that they do not want to cut non-benefit expenditure, so surely they have to accept the case I am making: that we need to get more people out of benefits altogether, and that requires a combination of the good things—promoting work, promoting better pay and lower taxes—and the not-so-good things, such as actually having to make some difficult choices on benefits.