Treasury written question – answered on 8th July 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Lister of Burtersett Baroness Lister of Burtersett Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Baroness Buscombe on 25 June (HL Deb, col 1003), whether they will now ask the National Audit Office to examine the feasibility of implementing the cumulative social impact assessment recommended by the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights; and whether they will explain what they meant by their reservation concerning "unreasonable assumptions about income sharing" set out in paragraph 38 of the Comments by the State on the UN Special Rapporteur’s report.

Photo of Lord Young of Cookham Lord Young of Cookham Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

The Treasury regularly publishes detailed analysis on the cumulative impact of policy decisions on tax, welfare and public spending on households of different incomes. The government also carefully considers the impact of its decisions on those sharing protected characteristics - including at Budgets and other fiscal events - in line with both its legal obligations and with its strong commitment to promoting fairness.

Our statement concerning income sharing reflects our reservations about producing cumulative analysis of the impact of tax and spending decisions on vulnerable groups beneath household level (for instance, by gender). This analysis often requires unreasonable assumptions about how income is shared within households. As independent experts at the Institute for Fiscal Studies have said, “because most people live in households with others, and we don't know how incomes are shared, it is very hard to look at effects separately for many men and women.”

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