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Clause 2 - Personal allowance for 2013-14 for those born after 5 April 1948

Part of Finance (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 23rd April 2013.

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Photo of Fiona O'Donnell Fiona O'Donnell Labour, East Lothian 3:00 pm, 23rd April 2013

That is quite incredible; I am genuinely stumped by that intervention. It is not about helping the Labour party; it is about reviewing the impact on people across all the Government’s policies of the changes made. That is not just for the benefit of Opposition parties, it is for the benefit of many campaigning groups across the country. That was not a helpful response. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will show that there is not a Whip keeping them on their seats just grumbling, by making a positive contribution to the debate. We can then have a more reasoned discussion.

We are talking about the total impact. One measure in particular is the freeze on child benefit. I remember, when the Tory Government fell in 1997 and I was struggling with a family of four children and not in work, that the biggest change came when child benefit was increased and I could spend it directly on my family.

Returning to the subject of age-related tax relief, Age Concern UK is now increasingly trying to work with food banks across the UK, offering to provide them with funding. That is not just about the poorest pensioners; it is again across society. Food poverty and insecurity are at times in places we would not expect. That is certainly the case for a family with four children I visited in my constituency. I spend some time in the company of the hon. Member for South East Cornwall and that is always pleasant, but I was astonished by her remark about people choosing to live in properties that are bigger than they require. The family I met had been on the housing waiting list—