Northern Ireland

In receipt of tax credits

Key points

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Graph 1: Over time

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Graph 2: By local authority

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Map

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Graph 3: Compared to Great Britain

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Definitions and data sources

Tax credits are a form of means-tested benefit for working households.  In April 2003, the Working Tax Credit (WTC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) replaced the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) and Disabled Person's Tax Credit (DPTC).  These, in turn, had been introduced in 1999 to replace Family Credit (FC) and Disability Working Allowance (DWA).

CTC includes a family element which is paid to any household with a dependent child with an annual income of less than 50,000.  Households receiving only this family element are excluded from this indicator (on the grounds that even most above-average income households with children receive it).

To allow comparisons both over time and between groups, the number of families in receipt of tax credits needs to be divided by the size of the total population.  However, there are no population estimates for the total number of working-age families.  As a proxy, the total estimated number of working-age households is used as the denominator in all the graphs (see the page on households, families and benefit units for a discussion of the differences between 'households' and 'families'). 

The first graph shows the number of working families in receipt of tax credits (and their equivalents in previous years), expressed as a proportion of the total number of working-age households.

The second graph and map show, for the latest year, how the proportion varies by local authority.

The third graph shows, for the latest year, how the proportion in Northern Ireland compares with the regions of Great Britain.

Care has been taken to ensure that the data is on a like-for-like basis.  In particular:

The reasons for these inclusions and exclusions are as follows:

Note that awards for WTC/CTC run to the end of the tax year so any figures published within a given year should be considered provisional – they are simply a snapshot of the situation on one day.  Claimants are constantly entering and leaving the system and their awards are not finalised until the end of the tax year when their income for that year is known.

The data source for all the graphs plus map is HM Revenue & Customs.

Note that:

2001 Census population estimates have been assumed to apply for all the years covered by the graphs.  This is because there are no estimates for how the number of working-age households has changed over time.  The number of working-age households used is the number of households where the 'Household Reference Person' is of working age.

Overall adequacy of the indicator: medium.  All the data is considered to be very reliable and provides an accurate count of the people on those benefit/tax credits.  However, the extensive changes in the system from year-to-year makes the data somewhat difficult to interpret.

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