Latest Public Sector News

07.01.13

Child benefit cuts take effect today

Over one million better-off families will see their child benefits cut under the new system that takes effect today.

Families with one parent earning over £50,000 will lose part of their child benefit. It will be fully withdrawn if one parent earns over £60,000. The new system will save £1.5bn annually as part of the Government’s plan to reduce the deficit.

Prime Minister David Cameron described the scheme as “fundamentally fair” whilst Labour condemned it as a “huge assault on families”.

Defending his policy, Cameron stated: “I'm not saying those people are rich, but I think it is right that they make a contribution.

“If we don't raise that... from that group of people – the better off 15% in the country – we would have to find someone else to take it from.”

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls argued that the money should be sourced from the wealthiest families, as opposed to those on middle incomes. He concluded by stating that the policy was a “complete shambles.”

Child benefit amounts to £20.30 per week for a family’s first or only child. Any other children receive £13.40 per week. It is paid until the child is 16 if they do not enter higher education. If they do enter into higher education, benefits are paid until the child is 18 and in some cases until the age of 20.

200,000 wealthier families have already opted out of child benefit because they knew that they would not be applicable under the new system. The deadline for opting out has now passed and families will have to fill out self-assessment forms to see if they are eligible.

Campaigners have said that the new system is unfair and that two parents earning £49,000 will keep their benefit whereas families with one parent earning over £51,000 will lose part of theirs, should one parent decide to stay at home and care for the children.

A Treasury spokesman stated: “Withdrawing child benefit on the basis of the combined family income would require intrusive means-testing of all eight million households getting child benefit. The way we are doing it is simpler for the vast majority of families.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Image c. Dave Buchwald 

Comments

Ive   07/01/2013 at 10:56

Child benefit should be stopped altogether for for people with more than four children. If a family wants seven, ten, or seventeen children then let them pay for them themselves; not the public purse. These selfish parents don't deserve any support from the taxpayer. These people are destroying the planet.

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