I am conscious this will be printed on International Women's Day 2024, just ahead of me being one of the UK delegation to the United Nations for the Commission on the Status of Women.

We held the IWD debate last week, as this week we have had the Budget and therefore debates throughout this week will be concentrating on the fiscal event. 

Some of the announcements in the budget were good news for women and for families. Over the last few years I have had countless local families get in touch with me regarding the child benefit upper threshold. This week the Chancellor announced not only would there be a significant increase in the upper threshold but there will also be a consultation on how to overhaul the system entirely.  At the moment if one earner in a family crosses the threshold then the benefit has to be paid back, meaning two earners just under the threshold would get to keep it all, whereas a one income household just over the threshold has to start paying it back.  I am very conscious that can be a significant disincentive and many local parents had previously raised the unfairness of that situation with me.  

One of the suggestions I made to the Chancellor when I met him six weeks or so ago, ahead of the Budget, was to overhaul child benefit in the way he is proposing and I am pleased he has listened. 

A further issue I raised back in July was about the taxation on disposable vapes.  Not only are they attractive to children and appalling for the environment, but they are sold currently at pocket money prices.  I absolutely recognise the important role vaping has in getting people off smoking but the disposable variety are an utter menace and horrifically addictive.  So I very much welcome the news there will be an additional duty on vapes, which hopefully will see an end to children getting hooked on nicotine and a reduction in the environmental damage they do.

Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP

Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee