Examination of Witnesses(Questions 160-169)|
MONTAGU KCB, MR
MONDAY 20 MAY 2002
160. Is it going to remain a benefit?
(Sir Nicholas Montagu) The Chancellor has in all utterances,
when speaking of the new tax credits and what they would do for
families, in particular the new children's credit, spoken of building
on the foundation of child benefit.
161. I am asking whether child benefit will
remain a benefit.
(Sir Nicholas Montagu) I hope it will be of great
162. No. Is child benefit being abolished under
(Sir Nicholas Montagu) No, absolutely not. The Chancellor
has spoken about building on the foundation of child benefit.
163. I am not clear, because there is this new
children's tax credit. Child benefit as a payment. Mr Osborne
is newly a father.
(Sir Nicholas Montagu) Congratulations. Boy or girl?
Mr Osborne: Boy.
(Sir Nicholas Montagu) Commiserations!
164. Mrs Osborne currently receives child benefit
and it is called child benefit. Will a thing called child benefit
continue to be paid to Mrs Osborne but simply by your Department
rather than by DWP?
(Sir Nicholas Montagu) Exactly that. I am sorry, I
did not quite understand the question. The point I was making
was that the Chancellor is giving a strong `no-change' message
where child benefit is concerned.
165. So why did it have to be moved from DWP
to Inland Revenue?
(Sir Nicholas Montagu) On the machinery of Government
you should ask the Prime Minister rather than me.
166. Did Rachel ask you why it was being moved
(Sir Nicholas Montagu) I suspect that probably communications
between Permanent Secretaries are nearly as sacrosanct as those
between Permanent Secretaries and Ministers.
Chairman: That line of questioning is
a tiny bit unfair.
167. I was just curious that this new child
tax credit arrangement seemed to imply that it was being turned
into another form of tax credit. You are telling me that is not
(Sir Nicholas Montagu) No.
168. It is child benefit, it remains child benefit,
it will continue to be called child benefit and it will continue
to be paid as a benefit not a tax credit.
(Sir Nicholas Montagu) Yes. I am grateful for your
protection, Chairman. I think, again going carefully, that you
will find what the Prime Minister and the Chancellor and the Secretary
of State have said is essentially in terms of streamlining and
bringing together the different types of support for families
with children. The new children's tax credit will subsume the
children's element in job seeker's allowance and income support
as well as that in working families' tax credit.
169. It is merely the case that the organisation
which is administering any tax credits is also the body which
pays child benefit.
(Sir Nicholas Montagu) That seems to be the emphasis
which Ministers have given in their speeches.
Chairman: Thank you very much,
Mr Bacon and thank you Sir Nicholas and your colleagues. Once
again your virtuoso performance has made even the Inland Revenue's
Appropriation Accounts 2000-01 interesting.
(Sir Nicholas Montagu) They are a riot every year.
Chairman: Thank you very much. Order,