Impact of provisions of section 5 on child poverty and equality

Part of Finance (No. 3) Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 8th January 2019.

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Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General 4:45 pm, 8th January 2019

I think I have been misunderstood, and I apologise to the hon. Lady if I was not clear enough. I am certainly not saying that data does not matter—quite the opposite. What I am saying is that we need to have the right kind of data for the exercise to be meaningful and worth while.

New clause 1 would require the Chancellor to report on the impact of changes to the personal allowance and the higher rate threshold on households of different levels of income, on child poverty, on equality and on those individuals with protected characteristics. New clause 5 would require the Chancellor to report on the Bill’s effect on child poverty, life expectancy and public health.

Let me first address the question of the Treasury’s compliance with its public sector equality duty, as referenced in new clause 1(2)(c). Equality and fairness continue to lie right at the heart of the Government’s agenda, and we take our compliance with this duty deeply seriously while deciding policy. That means that Government decisions are explicitly informed by the evidence available of the implications of those decisions for those sharing protected characteristics. I have no hesitation in saying that the Treasury complies with the public sector equality duty.

Further provisions in new clauses 1 and 5 call for the publication of different forms of analysis for clause 5 and for the whole Bill in turn. The Government have been, and continue to be, transparent—more transparent than any other. Changes to the tax system are always accompanied by a tax information and impact note, and each Budget is accompanied by detailed distributional analysis.

TIINs, in particular, are relevant to the questions discussed today. These notes provide Parliament and taxpayers with information on the expected effects of changes to the tax system, and form a vital part of the Government’s commitment to transparency and accountability around tax decisions. In the context of clause 5, for example, the TIIN already sets out the impact on groups of taxpayers according to their age, gender and income tax band, and this data is readily available to HMRC through tax returns.