§ Mrs. Anne Campbell
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in the Eastern region will benefit from working tax credits. 
§ John Healey
[pursuant to his reply, 27 March 2003, c. 446]: As explained in paragraph B41 of the pre-Budget Report in November 2002 (Cm 5664), in operating the conventional accounting rules for the national accounts, the Government follows OECD guidelines which mean that the new tax credits will not be counted as public expenditure to the extent they are less than or equal to the tax liability of the household.
Sir John Bourn, the Comptroller and Auditor General, has not, as far as I am aware, offered any views on the accounting treatment of tax credits in the national accounts, although the Chairman of the Statistics Commission, Sir John Kingman, has raised questions over the classification of tax credits. I refer my hon. Friend to an answer given by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury to the hon. Member for Truro and St. Austell (Matthew Taylor) on 16 July 2002, Official Report, column 255W.