The Child Benefit Cut Fiasco

Posted in: Viewpoints

As Budget Day looms ever closer the muffled arguments behind Cabinet doors are being leaked out.  Child Benefit is a particularly emotive subject, splitting opinions across the parties.  But the fact is that for many single-income families, earning around the cut-off point for receiving Child Benefit, the potential loss of it in 2013 will be felt extremely keenly.

Jill Kirby, an ex-Chair of Mothers at home Matter, and previous Chair of the Centre for Policy Studies, has written an excellent article for the site concerning Clarke’s remarks that paying child benefit payments to families with a higher rate taxpayer is “an anomaly” 

She argues that the real anomaly is the ‘complicated, expensive, unfair, anti-family’ policy of making Child Benefit a non-Universal Benefit. This move will penalise parents for working harder and earning more, it will increase fiscal discrimation against parental care, it will also act as a disincentive for marriage, or even living with your partner as the ‘proposed new system will require every individual paying higher rate tax to declare whether he or she is living with someone who receives child benefit.’

Finally Jill Kirby argues that the only way to make the cuts to Child Benefit fair would be if it also permitted a husband or wife caring for their children at home to transfer over their partner’s unused tax allowance, which is a move that Mothers at home Matter have been campaigning for for many years.  Perhaps this new and unfair move will prompt a fresh wave of momentum to force the government to act fairly to all families.


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