HC Deb 25 June 1998 vol 314 cc1167-8
13. Ms Rosie Winterton (Doncaster, Central)

What recent representations he has received on his decision to introduce a working families tax credit. [46160]

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Dawn Primarolo)

The working families tax credit has been welcomed by a wide range of individuals and organisations.

Ms Winterton

Has my hon. Friend received any representations about the amount of working families tax credit that will be available to 18 to 21-year-olds, who will be on the lower level of the national minimum wage? Will my hon. Friend confirm that anyone with a family who is eligible for the working families tax credit will receive the same overall amount of income whether they are over or under 21?

Dawn Primarolo

I have not received the representations to which my hon. Friend has referred. However, I can confirm to her that every family working full time will have a guaranteed income of at least £180 per week. No family with earnings of less than £220 a week will pay tax. The new child tax credit, which replaces the failed family credit allowance, will be available to all families.

Mr. Ian Bruce (South Dorset)

When will this wonderful tax credit come in? If it is so good, why is it not already in?

Dawn Primarolo

It will be introduced in October 1999. It is the democratic process and proper scrutiny by the House that dictate when it will be introduced.

Mr. Steve Webb (Northavon)

Would the Minister accept that part of the reason why the tax and benefit system for the low-paid is a mess is that it developed piecemeal, with different bits being added at different times rather than a coherent overview being taken? Does the hon. Lady accept that the Government are in danger of making the same mistake again by introducing the working families tax credit without integrating help with housing costs?

Dawn Primarolo

No, I do not accept the hon. Gentleman's proposition. The Government are taking an overview, and are developing a comprehensive system.

Ms Gisela Stuart (Birmingham, Edgbaston)

How will the self-employed be able to claim the working families tax credit, given that it will be coming through the wage packet?

Dawn Primarolo

The self-employed will be able to apply for the working families tax credit and the child care tax credit in the same way as anyone else. Discussions are taking place now between employers and representative organisations and between the Inland Revenue and those organisations with a view to developing the most appropriate way of delivering this mechanism.