Clause 8 - The person must be in the UK

Childcare Payments Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 am on 21 October 2014.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Bob Russell Bob Russell Liberal Democrat, Colchester 11:15, 21 October 2014

Will the Minister clarify what is meant by the statement that a person must be in the UK? The clause states what regulations “may” do

“if the person is in the United Kingdom on the date of the declaration.”

The explanatory notes, which the Minister may recall I quoted last week, specifically state that

“members of the armed forces who have been posted overseas…are to be treated as being in the UK.”

I detect that the words “may” and “permits” might provide some wriggle room, but the explanatory notes specifically mention that members of the armed forces serving overseas are to be treated as being in the UK. When we discussed clause 2(4) earlier this morning, reference was made to child care provided outside the United Kingdom, yet clause 8 states that the condition of eligibility is met

“if the person is in the United Kingdom on the date of the declaration.”

I need clarification on how that may or may not affect members of Her Majesty’s armed forces who are serving overseas. Have the Minister and her officials had time yet to discuss with the Ministry of Defence how to ensure that children of military personnel, whether in this country or overseas, do not miss out because their parents have been moved from one depot, garrison or naval port to another?

Photo of Catherine McKinnell Catherine McKinnell Shadow Minister (Treasury)

I also have one or two questions on the clause. The regulations setting out the residence criteria do not seem to provide a definitive definition. Will the Minister outline what does and does not constitute ordinary residence in the UK? Like the hon. Member for Colchester, I have been reading the explanatory notes, which refer to treating non-residents—those taxed in the UK but who may have some of their income exempt from UK taxation—as being exempt for the  purposes of the scheme. Will the Minister explain to what sort of people the explanatory notes refer? Are they referring to non-domiciled taxpayers, for example? The Committee would be grateful for clarification on those points.

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Exchequer Secretary

The Bill provides a broad rule setting the territorial scope of the scheme by requiring those benefiting from it to be in the United Kingdom. That follows the same approach as for tax credits and universal credit, so regulations made under the clause will provide detail on exactly what that means, with some necessary explanation. The draft regulations that we have made available to members of the Committee provide that explanation. Subject to exceptions, people will be required to be ordinarily resident in the UK to meet the criteria, and I emphasise that point.

The hon. Member for Colchester rightly mentioned our armed forces and the children of military personnel. I assure him that British forces posted overseas whose child care is outside the United Kingdom will be able to use this scheme. We are proud to emphasise that point. Last week I made a commitment to him that it is my mission to join up with the Ministry of Defence to ensure that no one misses out on the scheme. The families of all military personnel who are entitled to the scheme will be able to use it.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 8 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Ordered, That further consideration be now adjourned. —(Gavin Barwell.)

Adjourned till this day at Two o’clock