Tag Archives: child benefit

IDS was talking openly about restricting Child Benefit to two children, so how can the Conservatives deny Danny Alexander’s claims?

Danny Alexander has claimed that the Tories would meet their target of cutting £12 billion to the welfare budget by  making massive cuts to Child Benefit, means testing, limiting it to two children, abolishing the increased payment for the first child and removing it for 16-19 year olds. He told the Guardian that they had suggested these things back in 2012 and the Liberal Democrats had put a stop to them:

The Conservatives have been under sustained pressure to detail how they will cut £12bn from the welfare budget by 2017-2018, and the Institute for Fiscal Studies thinktank confirmed this week the Tories have so far disclosed only 10% of these cut in the form of a two-year freeze in working age benefits.

A separate internal government paper, Alexander reveals, was drawn up by the Treasury commissioned by the Tories for an additional £6bn cuts in welfare to be announced in the 2012 Autumn Statement.

The £8bn worth of welfare cuts were drawn up by Duncan Smith at a time when the cabinet was considering whether to stick to its timetable to reduce Britain’s national debt as a proportion of GDP. The plan was dropped.

The Tories have come out with a mockraged “But how could he suggest such a thing?” denial. This is barely credible. We know that Iain Duncan Smith was talking openly about limiting Child Benefit to two children back in 2013 as was Grant Shapps who added an even nastier element to this policy – that it should only apply to unemployed parents. According to the Telegraph, then:

But instead of denying the payments to all large families, some Tories have suggested that restrictions should be applied only to parents who do not work.

Grant Shapps, the Conservative chairman, earlier this year suggested that unemployed parents should not receive child benefit for additional children.

Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, last year questioned whether it was acceptable that families on benefits should continue to receive endless amounts of money for every child they have, when parents who are working often cannot afford to have more children.

The Lib Dems have insisted that there should be no more welfare cuts imposed during this Parliament.

As recently as last month, Newsnight reported that the Tories were wanting to restrict payment to three children, with Dominic Raab muttering darkly about “personal responsibility.”

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The Tories’ 35% strategy shows they know they cannot win outright in 2015

George Osborne with Red Box, Budget 2012“The 35% Strategy”. The phrase was initially coined by Dan Hodges to decry the Labour leader’s soft-left leadership:

Forget the One Nation strategy, Ed Miliband is pursuing what is known within his inner circle as the 35 Per Cent Strategy. Come 2015, he thinks he can stagger over the line with 35 per cent of the vote.

Less commented on is that the Tories have also been adopting their own 35% strategy under the tutelage of strategist Lynton Crosby. Today’s news that George Osborne has ruled …

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Opinion: Child benefit changes – get over it

The participants of talk radio were seething this morning, as people complained that they will lose child benefit if they are earning over £50,000. There was one particular man on Radio Berkshire shouting at his phone about it.

I think we need to step back here. Child Benefit’s predecessor, Family Allowance was introduced in 1946. Part of the reason for this was to encourage or, at least, facilitate the repopulation of the country following the killing of the war. The government was particularly keen on people producing boys. My own family duly did their patriotic duty splendidly by producing seven …

Posted in Op-eds | 67 Comments

Opinion: It’s time to reform child benefit

Child benefit and child tax credits represent the second biggest area of welfare spending, after pensioners. Public spending should be invested disproportionately in ensuring that all children fulfil their potential and develop the skills needed for tomorrow’s jobs, and that we intervene early to prevent, rather than react to, problems. However, this does not mean that current child-related expenditure is spent as well as it could be. Here are two considerations ahead of the Autumn Statement.

Firstly, any real-terms reduction in spending on child-related cash transfers should go alongside increased investment in early years support and childcare, especially for poorer families.

By …

Posted in News | 9 Comments

Opinion: Let’s raise tax threshold to £10,000 for all taxpayers

To keep the cost down, the increase of £1,000 in the personal allowance this year excluded higher rate taxpayers and over 65’s. Also, the higher rate threshold was reduced to bring more people and income into the 40% tax band.

The 2011 budget announced an increase in the personal allowance for under 65’s by £630 in April 2012, with the higher rate threshold unchanged. The freezing of the higher rate threshold brings more people and a greater proportion of existing earnings into the higher rate band – so-called fiscal drag.

This process seems consistent with the aim of increasing the personal allowance …

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Clegg hint on child benefit changes

From PoliticsHome:

Nick Clegg indicated this morning the Government was ready to back down new rules on child benefit.

Speaking to BBC News this morning, the Deputy Prime Minister acknowledged there were “anomalies” with two lower-rate payers still able to receive the benefit, and that was “the kind of thing that we’ve always said we’re prepared to look at”.

Chancellor George Osborne is expected to reveal in his forthcoming Budget that the cut-off threshold for receiving the payment will start at £50,000, rather than the £42,475 originally planned.

Posted in News | 6 Comments

LibLink: Danny Alexander – “People should judge me on what I deliver”

Two very positive Liberal Democrat stories today in the Herald Scotland:

The first: Flourishing LibDems cast Scottish politics in a good light reports that Liberal Democrat membership in Scotland is up 18% this year and sees it as a sign that of public acceptance of the party’s role in the Coalition government.

The Herald also has an interview with Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, which charts his progress from childhood to the Cabinet, revealing his family’s deep Liberal roots:

“My mother tells the story of how she caught my grandad rocking me in the pram when I was six months old saying ‘repeat after me, I’m a member of the Liberal party’.”

Posted in News and Scotland | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

Nick Clegg averted the axe from over-16s’ child benefit

Paul Walter has spotted an under-reported point in the child benefit coverage of the past few days: that payments for children aged 16 to 18 were originally intended to be stopped, but that this plan was dropped after Nick Clegg intervened.

Paul spotted this in a “deep trawl” of the Telegraph:

The controversial decision to “pre-announce” the child benefit decision was made 10 days ago by the key Conservative power-broking trio of David Cameron, Mr Osborne and William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, it is understood.

A couple of days later they informed Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, and his party

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Opinion: Child Benefit policy is within the great Liberal tradition

One of the most revered figures for British Liberal is Lord Beveridge, whose famous report laid the foundations for the welfare state as it was initially implemented by the 1945 Labour government. This report laid down the five “giant evils” which afflicted British society at that time, these were squalor, ignorance, want, idleness and disease.

As Lib Dems now contemplate the latest ream of announcements from George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith concerning reform of the welfare state, many of us, and particularly those who may identify with the ‘Beveridge’ Group within the party are concerned that the work of generations …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 136 Comments

83% support child benefit cut

A YouGov poll in The Sun this morning has 83% supporting the plans to scrap child benefit for high-rate taxpayers, with only 15% opposing the idea and an astonishingly small 2% who don’t have an opinion.

Whether that will calm Cameron’s nerves when faced with the full fury of the Daily Mail remains to be seen.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 23 Comments

Child benefit: the cutting debate

George Osborne has announced that the Coalition Government plans to scrap child benefit payments for families where one or both parents is a higher rate taxpayer.

Child benefit is currently paid to families (normally to the mother) where any children are under 18. It isn’t a means tested benefit: you have to apply and show you’ve got children, but there are no long, complicated forms to fill out where you give details of your financial situation.

So is the change a good idea? From my staw polling, most – but certainly not all – Lib Dems seem to think this …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 127 Comments

Clegg gets specific on cuts: Lib Dems to cut winter fuel payments for under-65s

So reports the BBC:

The Liberal Democrats have said if they won power they would stop the winter fuel allowance for people under 65. Anyone aged 60 can claim the allowance, worth £125 to £400, but the minimum age is due to rise to 65 in 10 years’ time.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said his party would implement the change now – saving about £400m in public spending. He said just under £200m would be used to give extra winter help to about one million severely disabled people or those who are terminally ill. …

Mr Clegg told the BBC his plan

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