Working Tax Credits

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:12 pm on 30th November 2011.

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Photo of Jonathan Reynolds Jonathan Reynolds Labour, Stalybridge and Hyde 4:12 pm, 30th November 2011

It is a pleasure to have been able to secure a debate on which I have been trying to be successful in the ballot for some time. It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr. Robertson, and to welcome the Minister to her relatively new job. I warmly congratulate her on it. She is surely further proof that all the best parliamentary careers begin in the Whips Office.

I am pleased to see a number of other hon. Members present. Several changes have been announced to working tax credit, not least those yesterday in the autumn statement. I will try to accommodate any colleagues who might wish to highlight their concerns or those of their constituents. For my part, in the time available, I want to discuss the changes to working tax credit that were announced in the spending review in October 2010. Specifically, from April 2012, the total weekly hours that a couple with children need to work in order to qualify for working tax credit will go up from 16 to 24, with one partner needing to work at least 16 hours a week. At present, couples whose annual income is less than about £17,700 a year qualify for tax credit if at least one of the couple works 16 hours a week. I want to talk about what these changes will mean for working families, how many of those families will be affected and what it will mean for couples where one partner has caring responsibilities.