§ Mr. Sarwar
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the married couples allowance. 
§ Dawn Primarolo
The married couples allowance and related allowances did not effectively support either children or marriage. They were available to all married couples, whether or not they had children, and were also available to single parents and to unmarried parents living together. The overlap between these allowances meant that twice the usual amount of relief could be available in the year a married couple separated.
We are therefore replacing the married couples allowance with the Children's Tax Credit, which will give more help to families at the time they need it most: when they have children. Following this year's Budget, it will be worth up to £520 a year from April (over two and a half times the former married couples allowance). In April 2002, to help families with a new baby, there will be a higher rate of Children's Tax Credit in the year of their child's birth worth up to £1,040 a year, over five times the value of the former married couples allowance.