Impact of provisions of section 5 on child poverty and equality

Part of Finance (No. 3) Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:45 pm on 8th January 2019.

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Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately Vice-Chair, Conservative Party 3:45 pm, 8th January 2019

It is a pleasure to follow Vernon Coaker. In fact, I agree with some of the sentiments that he has expressed. The level of poverty is still unacceptable, and that makes me unhappy. I am also unhappy about the level of inequality across the country and in my own constituency, but I want to support a Government who are doing something about it, not just through words but through actually taking steps to make these things better.

I have enormous respect for Debbie Abrahams, who introduced her new clause 1 earlier. It proposes a review of the impact of clause 5 on child poverty and equality—that is, the impact of raising the level of the personal allowance after which people start paying tax. She also spoke to new clause 5, which proposes a review of the public health and poverty impact of the whole Act. It is enormously tempting to say yes, we should do this. All of us in this Chamber care enormously about poverty and inequality levels. I have a background in healthcare, and I feel very strongly about reducing health inequalities. I am also conscious of the different life expectancies within my own constituency, which are substantial, but we must be careful not to be lured into a sense that reviewing a specific part of an Act will give us an accurate picture of all that is being done and of its impact on, for example, reducing health inequalities.