HC Deb 09 June 2004 vol 422 c263
7. Mr. John Smith (Vale of Glamorgan) (Lab)

What discussions he has had with his Cabinet colleagues on the take-up of tax credits in (a) Wales and (b) Vale of Glamorgan. [177360]

8. Mr. Martyn Jones (Clwyd, south) (Lab)

What discussions he has had with his Cabinet colleagues concerning the take-up of tax credits in Wales. [177361]

The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Peter Hain)

Two hundred and forty-five thousand families in Wales are receiving tax credits, including almost 228,000 families with about 400,000 children.

Mr. Smith

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Is he aware that for the first time in a generation not a single family in my Vale of Glamorgan constituency would be better off out of work and dependent on benefits? Will he give me an assurance that we never return to the absurd situation where benefits become a perverse incentive for people not to work?

Mr. Hain

I certainly will give ray hon. Friend that assurance, provided of course that the people continue to vote for Labour in election after election. Instead of the billions of pounds being wasted by the Tories to keep people on the dole, where there is no hope and no future, we have invested to help people who want to work and to make work pay through the working tax credit and the child tax credit. That is benefiting hundreds and thousands of people right across Wales.

Mr. Jones

What effect has that encouraging take-up of tax credits had on our desire to eliminate child poverty in Wales?

Mr. Hain

It has had a significant impact, because it has occurred alongside record increases in child benefits. We are committed to eliminating child poverty right across Wales. We have made massive strides in that direction, again with policies that would be cut under the Tories in their programme of cuts and cuts and cuts, driving the people of Wales and the children of Wales back into the misery of the 1980s and the early 1990s.