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.

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  • Emsworthian 6th Oct '10 - 8:49am

    The trouble with surveys on cuts is that many think it’s the other guys benefits that should
    be axed. The principle of making the better off pay their share is universally accepted. But
    as the latest fiasco shows it’s also about how you do it. Nobody but a complete partisan
    fanatic could argue that it was fair and what do you get for the pain? A billion could have been
    scythed off the £7 billion the money movers in the City are about to share out.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 6th Oct '10 - 9:19am

    I’m, sorry, but these mindless articles in support of coalition policy really are getting to be a joke. I find it astonishing that you could produce a comment that was less balanced than even the Sun’s coverage!

    As the Sun makes clear, while 83% support scrapping child benefit for those on higher incomes, there is far less support for the way in which it is being done. 46% think it is unfair that a couple on £30K each should keep the benefit while a sole earner on £44K loses it.

    Here is part of Anthony Wells’s comment from his blog:
    “The principle of limiting child child benefit so people on higher incomes don’t receive it is hugely popular, with 83% of people supporting it and only 15% opposed. However, that question was about the principle of the policy. YouGov then asked about the practicalities of the policy, and the way that a couple both earning £30k would keep child benefit, while a couple where only one worked and earned £44k would not. 41% of people agreed that this was a fair compromise given the cost of fully means testing child benefit, but 46% thought it was unfair and that the policy should be based on a proper means-test. So the principle of the policy is extremely popular, but people are split over the implementation of it.”

  • Given that David Cameron stated 85% of the population would be unaffected by the change, is this result really all that surprising?

  • That’s alright then as we all know the democratic will is the only factor in whether a policy is right or wrong. There is nothing to be worried about and the tyrrany of the majority is no more than a figment of the old liberal imagination in the days before the ‘new’ politics.
    This purpose of this policy is to undermine support for the principle of universality and as such has more to do with Conservative plans for health care than anything else.

  • Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t opinion polls show that Tony Blair had majority support for his Iraq war?

  • david thorpe 6th Oct '10 - 3:59pm


    this policy was signalled in the lib dem manifesto and wasnt in the tory one.
    The tory right seem more p*sed off about it than lib dems

    To comapre a wealth transfer from poor to rich with the illegal war on iraq is disinegious in the extreme

  • Anthony Aloysius St 6th Oct '10 - 4:23pm

    “this policy was signalled in the lib dem manifesto”

    It certainly wasn’t.

    Why do people find the distinction between child tax credits and child benefit so difficult to grasp?

  • Foregone Conclusion 6th Oct '10 - 5:15pm

    So far, we have had this change compared to:

    – Tyranny
    – The Iraq War

    Please, everyone, calm down. If you’re this excited about what is at the end of the day a minor fiddling with the system, then your heads will probably explode come October 20th.

  • David Allen 6th Oct '10 - 5:17pm

    “Most people, including higher rate tax payers, will say they support hitting the high rate taxpayers. But I’m sceptical about whether they really think this.”

    I agree. Gesture politics getting in the way of thought-through policy.

    Our consensus for many years has been that the childless should help the child-rearing pay the costs of bringing up the next generation. It is a shared social obligation. It applies to Joe and Jo Bloggs. It also applies when the childless Ponsonby-Smythes help out the child-rearing Fotheringay-Fanshawes.

    So if we wish to hit the higher rate taxpayers, why on earth discard this principle for them? Why not retain the transfer payment, while increasing the rate of higher rate tax?

  • Don’t be so ridiculous @david thorpe. The comparison was between the two pluralities of opinion. Nothing else.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 7th Oct '10 - 12:36am

    “I have scoured my copy to no avail.”

    I think the root of the confusion is that at one stage Vince Cable “misspoke” and referred to child benefit being cut rather than child tax credits. Not that the principle is that much different. But both parties in the coalition gave a cast-iron commitment to child benefit remaining universal, and now they are going back on their word as though – well, as though it was really up to them all along and the electorate that they were lying to should have had no say at all in the matter.

  • Forgone Conclusion, this may be a minor fiddling with the system but it signals an attack on the idea of universality and is designed to build support for a more extensive attack. Social care is already signalled in the health white paper as an area to be funded privately through voluntary contributions and partnerships, in other words no longer universally provided but provided on the ability to pay. The coalition is pursuing policies that are designed to undermine universality and only provide a safety net for the poor (but only the deserving poor we learn from the Conservatives today). The new structure of the health service is designed to incentivise the uptake of private health insurance to facilitate queue jumping and access to the Doctors with the best reputations for those who pay. Benefits being capped for poor people with a socially unacceptable number of children given their unemployed status. All of these programmes require society to reject the notion of universality and accept entrenched inequality as not only unavoidable but as fair.
    There is no logic to the proposal to cut universal child benefit other than an ideological opposition to universality itself. If the deficit had anything to do with it and fairness were a consideration, then either the whole of this benefit would be stopped or tax would be raised for everyone in that income bracket. If liberals care to look at this proposal in context then they should realise it is an attack on the basic principles of liberalism itself.
    Another word on context. When a word such as Iraq or Tyrrany appear in a sentence it does not necessarily follow that it is being used comparatively with every other word in the paragraph. That a majority of people support an idea is no indicator of its truth or value as an idea. If it were and this were the factor that determined action then the majority could impose its will against the interests of individuals or society. Liberalism is committed to individual freedom and equality and recognises that these fundamentals will need to be protected from the ‘tyrrany of the majority’; some would say that this implies liberalism and democracy can never be truly compatible.

    Perhaps just for you, I should have simply said, ‘who cares whether 83% think it’s a good idea. They’re wrong and if we pay any attention to them we’re all doomed.’

  • Anthony Aloysius St 7th Oct '10 - 8:54am

    “is YOUR chancelor going to come up with a clever device similar to the 40% tax thing that identifies deserving poor”

    What a good idea – perhaps a biometric recognition system that can automatically detect when a forelock is being tugged …

  • dave thawley 7th Oct '10 - 11:39am

    This is just wrong. I am not commenting on the concept but the implementation

    As said previously- 2 families with two kids each. One family earns £44000 and loses it while another earns £85000 and keeps it. Cameron’s definition of this is ‘it is fair’ hummm, right ok.

    Also – two identical families earn 43900. One of the earners is stupid enough to work hard and try to progress and gets an extra £1000 pay rise which results in her family being £2000 a year worse off – what the hell!!!!!
    Cameron’s excuse is that its fair…. Because its too difficult to make it fair. What a load of rubbish. We need to oppose anything like this and get it changed or else what is the point of us being there. If we are going to stand by and let this go what on earth are we going to do when the rest of it comes? I suppose our leaders could be practicing – standing in the corner with their fingers in their ears whistling ‘everything’s going to be alright’. As liberal we need to be standing up to this. So far the only noise from the leadership (other than Ming) seems to have been deafening science – WHY. Is the idea of our part in coalition just to let these con artists do what they want and we just stand by fiddling with our thumbs. Surely not, so we need to see some action about this.

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