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 of Liberals is in danger of being undone by the Tories under the veil of deficit reduction.

But let’s look again at those five great evils. It’s not the purpose of this particular article to discuss the putative reforms in relation to unemployment benefit, but it is worth remembering that ‘idleness’ is treated as an evil within the welfare state as much as any of the others are.

For this article, the most relevant of Beveridge’s great evils are perhaps ‘want’ and ‘squalor’. It is surely not the contention of any opponent of these reforms that any child who is part of a stable family where the household income is above £44,000, is in ‘want’ of anything which it is the state’s concern to provide, and similarly, a child in such circumstance is unlikely to live in ‘squalor’.

Much has also been made of the different income thresholds for families where only one, or both parents are working. Again there is a temptation to see this as part of some Tory plot to punish stay at home mothers. But again the reason for the different thresholds is very simple and very much within the Liberal tradition.

If both parents are working outside the home, then they will need to pay for childcare, while a family in which just one parent works outside the home will not incur such an expense. The different thresholds are designed to make it easier for people to choose which of these options they prefer, rather than confining people to paid work, or to the home, for economic reasons.

This choice and freedom should provide more economic freedom for women in the future, and that surely is something which is central to the Liberal tradition.

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  • Here we go, another exercise in self justification, we seem to be getting quite good at that.
    So in essence, what your saying is that the principle of Universality isn’t Liberal and never has been?

  • You have just made an argument for turning Child benefit in ‘Childcare Allowance’ to be paid only when both parents are working irrespective of income…. well done, I’m impressed (btw you don’t work for a G Osbourne by chance)
    And to cap it all your saying this gives economic freedom, I am frankly gob-smacked

  • Lisa Ansell 9th Oct '10 - 12:38pm

    Seriously – did you just invoke Beveridge as justification for rolling back the welfare state and punishing the most vulnerable people in our society for being poor? Beveridge didnt think idleness could be cured by starving people. YOu lot make me sick.

  • Lisa Ansell 9th Oct '10 - 12:40pm

    Were you actually aware of how many HB claimants are unemployed? That in some parts of the country it is less than 2 out of 8??? HOw precisely will those WORKING people be helped by being made homeless? Or the single parents who need housing benefit while working because of the cost of childcare??? Piss off. Sorry for language, but seriously- you are disgusting.

    I agree that universal child benefit is not affordable at the moment- and I agree that a line needs to be drawn somewhere but my god- the gall of you.

  • Lisa Ansell 9th Oct '10 - 12:43pm

    If you email me- I will give you a list of about 20 people i know- who will be made jobless, and probably homeless by your coalition- the ones your chancellor calls scroungers. THis was the effect of your budget on my idleness- http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/30/single-parents-welfare-budget-income

    Do you know what effect your rhetoric has had in this country? HOw many times a day I get told I should have kept my legs shut, my daughter was a mistake. Doesnt actually matter that I work 12 hour days, or that my daughter is well brought up…. Chancellor says it, deputy Prime Minister says it, Prime Minister says it. Never mind eh. Should be married. Shoudl stop scrounging and you are just helping me stop being idle.

  • Lisa Ansell 9th Oct '10 - 12:49pm

    Perhaps you werent aware of how poverty traps people. Do you know what it is like to not be able to get to a job interview, because paying for bus fare would mean not feeding your child??? Or looking at your income and knowing that even working 12 hours a day, you wont be able to meet your living costs, and if you dont work you wont be able to meet your living costs. Tell me what is freeing about spending 2-3 hours a day on the phone to debt collectors who are unaware of consumer credit legislation, who arent regulated by anyone- and are employed by utility companies? To know that your ‘debt’ is not a result of you spendign money on credit- but of being unable to afford to heat your home. Or hoping to god your childs father buys her school shoes because there is just no way you will be able to???

    Freedom? Doesnt feel much like freedom.

    But then, I should haev kept my legs shut. Am a scrounger. When I left my husband and didnt have an dual income- I should have sold her. Why should teh taxpayer pay for my mistakes eh? Put her down. Send her to work. Tackle that idleness. What next kids up chimneys to empower them to take responsibility for themselves?

  • Lisa Ansell 9th Oct '10 - 12:52pm

    I can recommend an excellent book so you can actually learn about the welfare state, before spouting such nonsense. Five Giants By Nicholas Timmins is a good start. Educate yourself before imposing this drivel on people.

  • Stuart Mitchell 9th Oct '10 - 12:54pm

    “If both parents are working outside the home, then they will need to pay for childcare, while a family in which just one parent works outside the home will not incur such an expense.”

    Perhaps you should have another think about that, bearing in mind that plenty of families only have one parent present.

  • @Lisa Ansell
    I can see your angry and in my opinion rightfully so but please remember there are an awful lot of Lib Dems who are also angry and share your disgust but are feeling totally impotent and dismayed at the actions or rather inaction of the current leadership

  • Lisa Ansell 9th Oct '10 - 12:56pm

    Stuart- you forget. It is not the taxpayers responsibility to pay for other peoples children. Scrounging single parents should have stayed with their husbands, how dare they expect to be able to work and earn a living. HOw dare they expect to at least have a route out of poverty that isnt a bloke?

  • Lisa Ansell 9th Oct '10 - 12:58pm

    Nige- it isnt the leadership who are writing this drivel, and it isnt the leadership who are spouting this rhetoric with gusto. I see few signs of opposition to Nick Clegg on my twitter feed, and bar a few speeches I saw little sign of it at Conference.

  • Lisa Ansell 9th Oct '10 - 1:02pm

    Sorry- that was a rant and a half. Prob shouldnt post when read drivel like this.

  • The policy isn’t an attack on stay at home Mom’s, it’s an attack on single parents, that’s quite clear, how quickly after it was announced were they talking of married couple tax breaks, for goodness sake.

    The policy, like the immigration cap and like the cap on benefits is simply a lazy policy that doesn’t take into account individual circumstances.

  • I am alarmed at the lack of sympathy being shown by party members, generally, towards the victims of the cuts. If we aren’t careful we risk occupying the moral high ground that the Tories have vacated. Witness how many of their own MPs were up in arms over the child benefit announcement.

  • @Lisa Ansell

    Don’t let anyone tell you that universal child benefit is not affordable at the moment. Without universality, it’s very existence is at threat.

    If this was all about the deficit, then why not make CB taxable? Why not increase the the rate of top rate tax? This is ideologically driven, and the LibDems should be ashamed of their part in it.

  • @David Thorpe

    David, do you agree that services exclusively for the poor, in general, usually means poor services?

  • As the “Labour tribalists” on a different, but related, thread were unable to provide any answer on Thursday, I’ll repeat it here:

    Are you really saying that the Labour Party defends universality?

    Most Lib Dems wouldn’t be surprised to hear that. Given the choice of defending a benefit to those on £12,000 per annum, or a benefit to those on £60,000 per annum, we would always expect the Labour Party to say that the benefit to those on £60,000 was more important.

  • @Simon Shaw
    Who mentioned Labour in this thread?, this isn’t about whether or not Labour supports universality, this thread is all about Liberal Democrat opinion and whether the proposed changes goes against Liberal tradition.

    And btw before you call me a “Labour Tribalist” for not supporting or treating absolutely everything that the Coalition says as gospel I must say I’m not a Labour supporter/member and have never voted Labour in my entire adult life BUT I do support the principle of universality AND I’m a Lib Dem supporter, does that make me a contradiction? are you interested why I support it? or are you just interested in trying to trip up the Labour posters on this site?

  • Lisa Ansell
    Where you around in the 1970s?

  • Lisa Ansell 9th Oct '10 - 2:36pm

    Still. With the tax credit cap ensuring that new mothers in low earning families cant return to work, the removal of child benefit from the mothers hands in families over £44k a year, the removal of any chance of a lone parent relying on childcare meeting her basic living costs removed, no solutions offered to the way that having children affects your earnigns potential, no mention of the cost of childcare…..

    People wanting to abuse and control their partners are truly liberated. Financial control is often quite difficult when the state ensures that some of the income in the house is in the mothers hands, and that women leaving their partners can survive financially- those poor gits who want to abuse their partners have to work really hard to get financial control. You lot have just handed it to them on a plate.

    Liberation at last eh?

  • TheContinentalOp 9th Oct '10 - 2:55pm

    @ SimonShaw

    I’m baffled by your “one trick pony” response to any criticism of the coalition. You constantly bemoan “Labour tribalists” while ironically displaying the exact same traits which made them so unappealing to the miliions of floating voters like me.

    We know only too well what New Labour were like and their unwillingness to listen, arrogance and inability to recognise/acknowledge their own failings were among the resons they lost millions of votes.

    I certainly believed the Lib Dems were different. But every time I read a post from Lib Dem tribalists like you Andrew Tennant, Blanco and others I see that I am very wrong. You’re every bit as bad. It’s just a sad game of political pointscoring for you guys. The real world doesn’t matter.

    I know at the minute I don’t matter one jot to the Lib Dems, what with elections being still a little time away. But the time will come again when you will all come knocking on my door once again. This time – thanks to you – I’ll remember exactly how little the Lib Dems really value the average voter.

  • Andrew Suffield 9th Oct '10 - 2:56pm

    punishing the most vulnerable people in our society for being poor

    It’s just my opinion, but I really don’t think that people earning £40k/year are the most vulnerable people in our society.

  • Lisa Ansell 9th Oct '10 - 3:21pm

    No, I wasn’t around in the 70’s. Unfortunately I have the misfortune of havinga young child in 2010, and the double misfortune of being seperated from my husband, and the triple misfortune of having thought working in Child Protection was a way of contributing to society. I didn’t really think these things were a misfortune until June. I had assumed that as I had always worked, and that the state of the labor market fro women with children was clearly evidenced- that I would be ok.

    I have found out quite recently that those three things mean I am a scrounger. I get a couple of Lib Dems daily telling me so. Why- are the people actually liberated by this progressive programme supposed to stay silent??

    If you want I can illustrate every point I have made with either someone I know who has been directly affected, AND with detailed examination of the policies which have had this affect?

    Dont confuse me with a Labour tribalist either. Labour are not our great hope- and you cant just scream ‘but we are not Labour’ every time this Coalition do something else that ensures that motherhood is a direct route to poverty, without the benefit of a husband.

    I dont see anything liberal about this economic agenda. Liberalism is something else entirely.

    Re: Child Benefit for £44k a year earners. No I dont think it is that necessary- have said so- but then again- I fail to understand why a lone parent on £44k a year, who is paying out £6-700 a month childcare, and a below average mortgage- who would be left with about £700-£800 a month for all other bills- is seen as a top earner- when families where a combined income of £79k are not.

    And lets face it- this coalition have made damn clear they want women in the home, out of work and married. Fuck the consequences for those women.

  • Lisa Ansell 9th Oct '10 - 3:23pm

    Oh wait was that actually supposed to be an insult Manfarang? (interesting choice of name btw)

  • Lisa Ansell 9th Oct '10 - 3:25pm

    Kerry- those ‘other’ allowances that you speak of- stop at £25k a year now. So if you earn £26k, and need to pay childcare for one child or more- those circumstances are no longer taken into consideration.

    Did NIck Clegg and his mates not like their mothers? Is that it?

  • Lisa Ansell 9th Oct '10 - 3:47pm

    Oh and Kerry- relying on the fact that a 12 year old can take care of themselves- not great parenting. Really not. Acceptable to leave a 12 year old while you go to shop maybe- for half an hour or so. Leaving a 12 year old to fend for themselves while you go to work- not a great idea.

  • Oh dear oh dear oh dear you and your party do have problems dont you.

  • Andrew Suffield 9th Oct '10 - 6:35pm

    Not so long ago both my wife and I both volunarily went from full time to part time work and pulled in about 25K each for 3 days work each. This was so we could look after our young children. Under the coalition rules, we would have still been able to claim CB even though we had zero child care costs as there was always one of us around to look after the children.

    This one’s a bit awkward. Do you try to write detailed rules that catch every case like this, and deliver something that feels “fair” when subjected to tabloids? If you do that, you end up spending a lot of money on the bureaucracy to administer the rules, and most people can’t make sense of what benefits they are entitled to. That’s the problem with the existing system. Simpler rules tend to miss these complex cases and generate anecdotes that sound unfair, but since you’ve cut a lot of useless management costs and reduced the number of people who didn’t manage to correctly fill out the forms to claim all the benefits they were entitled to, it can end up costing less money at the same time as giving more money to people who need it.

    This is a hard problem to solve. Certainly the existing benefits system is far too complex and expensive. Are the proposed new rules too simple? I don’t have a research team to find out the answer. It may be easier to try them and make adjustments later.

  • Lisa Ansell 9th Oct '10 - 6:41pm

    ”Simpler rules tend to miss these complex cases and generate anecdotes that sound unfair, but since you’ve cut a lot of useless management costs and reduced the number of people who didn’t manage to correctly fill out the forms to claim all the benefits they were entitled to, it can end up costing less money at the same time as giving more money to people who need it.”

    Am sorry- but that is just rubbish. Absolute rubbish. It is very simple. 2 people on less than £44k can get child benefit. One person earning half of that household would not. That is not a minor inconsistency. Especially in the context of the accumulated policies on single parent households. Just how many policies do there have to be which have this effect, which have to be followed with announcements about incentivising marriage- before people are allowed to say- hang on.

    What he is talking about is not an inconsistency, it is a very simple test. You dont get to just say ‘oh we cant be arsed making sure it works’. I would like to sayy it is Lazy- but it is calculated.

    The fact that Andrew was caught up in yet another policy aimed at incentivising marriage by punishing people for being in households with one earner, especially where that one earner is ALSO the one carer. THis is a common theme for the coalition.

  • The different thresholds are designed to make it easier for people to choose which of these options they prefer, rather than confining people to paid work, or to the home, for economic reasons.

    This is patent rubbish. The effect of the different thresholds might possibly be as you suggest (though I doubt it) but the design of them is quite simply, as has been openly stated by the government, to make the removal of CB easy to administer within the current tax system. Nothing more. Pretending that it is part of some thought out plan to liberate women just makes you look stupid and as if you are grasping at straws.

  • Andrew Suffield 9th Oct '10 - 9:18pm

    Am sorry- but that is just rubbish. Absolute rubbish. It is very simple. 2 people on less than £44k can get child benefit.

    Oh hey, we’re not discussing that. Your rant was further up the page. We’re talking about a curious (but probably uncommon) case where people can claim the benefit while having no need for it.

  • david thorpe 10th Oct '10 - 3:05am

    @ lisa

    Im only using the justification in relation to child beneift and nothing esle, and the people effected by that are not the poorest in society they are in the top 15% of the income strand. As for your comment about wenauitng women in the home, the child benefit plan incentivises womnen to work outside the home, not within it, which is why the right wing press are attacking it.
    If you are referring to the married couple tax allowance, I dont defend that, and I have heard no lib dem defend it, just toreis, and because its been tory policy for a long time.
    If you are trying to imply Im justifying the 26k cap, well thats the average, they are not the poorest, they are the average.


    I know from talking to people wihin the lib dem policy making framework that the plan is as I describe. I would not have included the reference either, because Im not that convinced by the argument.

    If you are referring to neither of those then I have no idea to what you are referring.

    @ jayu

    If you mean #do I think thats the case at the moemnt, then yes.
    If you mean do I think that it will inevitablyy always be the case, then no. it doesnt have to be the case.

    @ jayu
    ,aking it taxable is a waste of moeny, you have to pay prople to give out the money, and pay iother people to collect the moeny back through tax, so the effect on the recipient is the same but the layers of bureacuracy increase.


    Different people desreve symptahy, I dont thinkwell off people not getting moeny they ofetn dont need deserve sympathy.

    @ stuart.

    Thats a fair point but Im not referring to people in that situation.
    However you do make a relevant point and its somehting to look at.

    @ ian

    circumstances such as yours are always going to exist in the tax system , if it could be more personalised that would be good.

    @ Lisa

    Yes I have been in the sitaution relauing to busfares and job interviews, and indeed suitautions afr worse than that.
    @ Kerry

    Ther different thresholds for different people are set because the couple are treated as two individuals, there are reasons relating to combating misogny why this is the case
    @ lisa

    your little ramnt adds nothing to the debate, iot cosntructs straw man arguments and puts words and thoughts which are frankly offensive to me personally into my mouth.
    yopu are referring to soemhtinge sle in relation to tax credits for single parenstw hich is nothing to dow ith what I am posting.
    @ nige

    No Im not saying universality isnt in beveridge.
    Im showing other perinicpals which are in beveridge.
    Get me a quote about univera#sailty.

    And if you think the wealfre state was craeted to help millionaires get money at the expense of the working class I would seriously worry about you

  • @david thorpe
    “And if you think the wealfre state was craeted to help millionaires get money at the expense of the working class I would seriously worry about you”

    There is really no need to worry about me, but I do worry about your argument against universality and where it may ultimately lead, by using your argument one could equally make a valid point of refusing NHS treatment to those who have income over a set amount, the same goes for Education, pensions etc, after all it’s also working class taxes that goes to pay for it. My problem is that it’s a ‘thin edge of the wedge’ and I do worry where will it end, high earners demanding a Tax decrease?
    Specifically, my point regarding the universality of Child Benefit is that CB could/should be seen as an acceptance by the State that it also has a stake in the upbringing of the child as he/she when adults will become tax payers therefore contributing to the future welfare of us all.
    And just for the record I would classify myself as working class (and proud of it)

  • @david thorpe

    Strawman arguments.

    Friend one- next month will be forced to go the man who beat her, her entire marriage- to make up shortfall in housing benefit. Even though she works.

    Me- career gone. Next month may lose house,

    Friend 2: Baby born March- wanted to go back to work before christmas. Tax credit upper limit with no consideration of cost of childcare– means she cant.

    We dont feel like we are made of straw Mr.Abbot. And we arent men. Hence the reason your coalitions policies have this effect,

  • How precisely did you think the repeated vicious attacks on mothers would work? Sorry- am I not pretending that poverty is liberating?

  • And actually- this policy IS yet another attack on single parents.

    GIve you a job for today. Sit and look at your coalitions policies- take the case of a single parent on any income level- and work out just how your coalitions policies work.

  • AM confused Mr. Abbot- when I am talking about the real effect of these policies- repeatedly on me and my friends- how is that a ‘straw man’ argument??

  • If you would .like to point precisely to which point was a straw man argument, I would be more than happy to discuss.

    I thought you would be pleased to hear from the people who are being liberated by your coalition?

  • david thorpe 10th Oct '10 - 2:54pm

    You are laking points, valid as they are, about policies which effect single parnets, and how that has effected your life.As I say you make good and interesting points in doing so, but,
    the circumstances youd escribe are ntohing to do with the child beneift measures which is being discussed here.
    You are brining in irrelevancieS to this thread.
    Your friend has my sympathy but how is the chold beneift cut efefcting her, thats what Im wiring about here.
    @ Nige

    The HHS was craeted to provide people with care at the point of need, oif they are ill they are eligible. If they are not ill they are not.
    The state provison of free education is the state showimng it has a stake in bringing up the child.
    We have heard from people talking about how the child benefit is used to pay their mortgage, or pay for their lifestyle, not the childs, thats not somehting the statw should have a stake in

  • david thorpe 10th Oct '10 - 2:57pm

    on universality

    I spent a (thankfully) brief period of my loife in britain sleeping on the streets.
    On trying to apply for beenfit I was told I hadnt enough NI cONTRIBUTIONS?
    WHERE WAS the universality then, when it was needed.

  • @David Thorpe
    “I spent a (thankfully) brief period of my loife in britain sleeping on the streets.
    On trying to apply for beenfit I was told I hadnt enough NI cONTRIBUTIONS?
    WHERE WAS the universality then, when it was needed.”

    Sorry to hear that, I was in a similar position at one time back in the 80s, however I’m sure you would of been entitled to income support irrespective of NI contributions, granted it would of been a pittance but at least it was something.
    The problem with reforming the welfare state is that if it’s not done right the first time or it is changed on the hoof for short term advantage people will be in the same position as you and I were and that something I sure you wouldn’t want.

  • david thorpe 10th Oct '10 - 4:27pm

    @ Nige

    Fair enough. BUt why is it faior for chil;d benefit to be universal and jobseekers allowance or whatever not to be?
    I though the argument people were making on this subject was that the principal of universality must be retained.
    But there is no universality.
    Another person of my acquiantance wasnt permitted benfits because of their spouses income being so high?
    Whats Universal about that.

  • @David Thorpe

    Why should the State Pension be a universal benefit?

    You know very well that universality is not about all benefits.

  • Lisa Ansell 10th Oct '10 - 7:22pm

    @david thorpe- universal unemployment benefit doesnt exist. You pay in, you get out. Its about preventing idleness. Is difficult to be idle when you are looking after a child. They get up too early, and demand too much attention. Children are a 24/7 job.

  • Lisa Ansell 10th Oct '10 - 7:22pm

    Am surprised you didnt feel liberated by the experience. Freed from your idleness…empowered. Its the coalition way.

  • @Lisa Ansell
    You’re not a Labour Party member, are you by any chance?

  • Lisa Ansell 10th Oct '10 - 9:51pm

    I might be a Labour party member but Ed Millibland and his lot are not our great hope. Labour member and uncritical labourite are too different things. I voted Lib Dem in the election.

  • Lisa Ansell 10th Oct '10 - 9:52pm

    Two- sorry.

    No- my anger at articles like this glossing over the effect of the coalitions policies- really more personally driven. Read above comments. Should explain why such tosh grates.

  • @Lisa
    You are not by any chance the same Lisa Ansell who, within the last week, said the following on another website?

    While I have sympathy for the “squeezed middle”, I am also a pragmatist. There is a huge difference between want and need. Universal benefits are desirable. The state ensuring that some household income is placed into the mother’s hands: desirable. Desirable and necessary are different.

    Yet the first time I see any “outrage” worth noting is when child benefit is to cease for people earning more than £44,000. All of a sudden the equality implications of this budget are a problem.

    Why the big difference between what you said there and what you have said here?

  • Yeah- and if you look further down that article, you will see that I also say- there is a possibly a need when a single parent has childcare and a mortgage. I also say on this thread- that I actually dont think that £44000 even with a single carer is poverty. BUt the fact that the author of this article had to deliberately missed the point with this line:

    ”If both parents are working outside the home, then they will need to pay for childcare, while a family in which just one parent works outside the home will not incur such an expense.” -Ignoring that if a single parent had such an income- they WOULD be working, and by definition their chidlren would need to be cared for- so childcare WOULD be an expense.

    And the point I am making here, to the ridiculous drivel spouted by the author about this policy- is that it is cumulative effect of the attacks on single parents at EVERY income level- and that this policy is a very clearly calculated attack at that income level.

    The fact that it came alongside yet more announcements of tax breaks to incentivise marriage was absolutely calculated.

    Stay at homesingle mums will have their housing benefit cut. They will have it cut again after 12 months if they ar enot employed No mention of the state of the labour market.

    Low earning Single parents(which most of us are) have had their housing benefit cut- with no mention of the fact that it is the cost of childcare that leaves so many single parents needing it.

    TAx credits stop at £25k- so once a single parent gets out of the housing benefit trap they tehn lose tax credits. Again regardless of the cost of childcare, which can be upwards of 10-12k a year if you have two children.

    THen at 44k a year, again regardless of childcare- you lose your child benefit because you are the top earners in the country- even you though you may earn half what a arent household brings in- and still are likely to be paying childcare.

    The author of this nonsense talks about the fact that this cannot possibly be avoided- and women will experience economic freedom through the policy..

    I would like to know where that economic freedom is? The author says that this is being mistaken as ‘ Tory plot to punish stay at home mothers.’- when he is clearly aware it is aimed at single parents. How does the author think households with one parent, are bringing in £44k- without using childcare? Are there a wealth of £44k a year jobs out there, that can be done in school hours?

    Overall the thing that really riles me with this article is the glib claim that this coalition are somehow giving women economic freedom, when actually so far- the cumulative policies for women by this coalition ensure that motherhood without a husband is a direct route to poverty- until you are earning £44k- when you will be treated as the highest earners in teh country.

    Am not angry because am a labourite- am not somehow adopting straw man arguments. Am frankly stunned by the audacity of a man telling me that yet another attack on lone parents is giving us freedom.

    And stunned by his revelations that because he slept on a park bench, when he couldnt get JSA because he hadnt contributed enough- universality should have applied there. When for children, where the effect on women is pretty much universal- it should not apply, and it is liberating for it to be taken away.

    My article about the child benefit cut- acknowledged the differences for single parents on that income level- but asks the very important question- about why when a coalition have done so much to ensure that there is no way of getting out of poverty if you leave your husband, it was this particular cut that had brought about public outrage.

    Now I know you want to dismiss me as a labourite. As someone who is engaging in straw man arguments. BUt I would like to ask the author of this drivel- how it is that the coalition are giving women economic freedom? Because from where I am sitting- they are very deliberately trapping mothers in poverty- as a punishment for not staying married.

  • Although thing that really ired me- was the invoing of the Beveridge to justify this all out assault on mothers. I wish you could edit commentns on this thing. Am a shit typist.

  • david thorpe 10th Oct '10 - 11:54pm

    @ lisa

    I mentioned in a subsequent reply that the issue of single parents needing childacre provision should be looked at. In the individual article I was referring to the dsingle income household vs the dual income household, not talking at all about single parents.
    I do think that some provision should be made for the chil;dcare needs of a single parent.
    Aside from that,. you are mentioing policy areads which I may not agree with, which are not the subject of this article and which are extreme hard cases, and hard cases make bad law.
    Ive never mentioned the word labour, I dont think you are, but your arguments were of a strawman variety.
    The people who have been compalining most are tory little englanders who are shocked because they feel the chi,d benefit plans are too encouraging of women to go out to work.
    I know thats not your view, but thats theres.
    You are making relevant points, but also throwing in much which is irrelevant and non sequitious.

    I am qwuoting beveridge because he is a significant thinker on welfare and within the lib dems.
    Also I think the fact that you netion there is a personal level to your comments dissapoints me.

  • But this policy is another continuation of that. Yet the fact that it absolutely discriminates against single parents, framing (and it is mainly) women who have barely made it out of the poverty trap set- as rich- announced alongside tax breaks for marriage- is supposed to be seen as a bureacratic timesaver.

    You see my criticism as non sequiturs- when actually repeatedly this is the way the coalition operates- with a collection of policies, not overtly stated as attacks on single parents- but carried out in full knowledge of the effect- and always accompanied by something about incentivising marriage.

    I would not say that even a single parent on £44k per annum is in poverty- but I would say that given the cost of childcare- at that income level they could quite conceivably be barely out of that income threshold.

  • As for the personal level to my comments.

    I am a bit tired of living in a country where I have to pretend that these policies are not personal. THese are policies which are designed to punish women for ending a romantic relationship. My friends and I, face poverty because we left our husbands. And articles like yours attempt to dress it up as empowerment.

    TO have more than £750-£800 a month to spend on bills and upkeep of my home, I would now have to earn more than £45k a year-and as soon as I did so- I would have child beneft withdrawn- even though my household had half the income of houses who still received child benefit. At what point am I allowed to say it is personal?

    This coalition has been systematic in identifying how to penalise mothers for becoming single- and has dresed it up as ‘tackling the deficit and incentivising marriage’. You have just written an article claiming it is liberating to women, and invoking Beveridge to justify it.

    Believe it or not- this IS personal.

  • @Lisa Ansell
    I think you are getting offensive now. To describe someone on £45,000 or £50,000 per year as someone who has “barely made it out of the poverty trap” shows a level of arrogance about how most people live.

    Would your objections be satisfied if some way could be found for removing Child Benefit from couples with a combined income of £60,000 or £70,000 pa? Or do you really believe that someone on £45,000 or £50,000 per year in not among the very richest in the country?

  • Lisa Ansell 11th Oct '10 - 9:07am

    Sorry- it is offensive to state that child care- the one expense that is GUARANTEED for a lone carer- which for one child can be £100-£180 per week- for two can be twice that. It is offensive to say that someone on 44k who is paying childcare for say – two children. Might not be one of the top earners in the country. And that given that tax credits will cease at £25k, regardless of teh fact that childcare might eat up half of that- that that person, if they also had a mortgage- (whats the average mortgage these days?)- they might not be the richest families in the country.

    Would it be outrageous if I said that a two parent family where both parties earned 22kk, yet were paying an average mortgage and childcare- might be just coming out of that income threshold?

    I think its offensive to say that a lone carer on 44k is one of the richest people in the country- yet a family where there is 80k a year still need child benefit to be honest.

  • Lisa Ansell 11th Oct '10 - 9:09am

    I also find it offensive that people like you- who a few months ago were all about the fairness- are now complicit in attacking single parents at every level, for the stated purpose of ‘incentivising’ marriage. Is marriage or poverty part of the liberal tradition?

  • david thorpe wrote-
    “Fair enough. BUt why is it faior for chil;d benefit to be universal and jobseekers allowance or whatever not to be”

    A child is not expected to be financially independent or find to employment no matter how wealthy the parents are, the days of Valentine Gray are long gone thank god, where as a fit but unemployed person would be expected to do all he/she can, the onus is on them.
    Granted it’s the parents choice to have children but it’s the State that will gain most financially in the long long run through future taxes and as I’ve said previously eventually contributing to the welfare of us all, the same would apply to other universal benefits/systems, you would not expect any person to contribute to society if they are injured, that’s why we have the NHS, it’s in the States interest to get these people fit and well as quickly as possible for the sake of the economy.
    I am not arguing specific cases as Lisa is (however valid), I’m arguing for the principle of universality and that the State has a certain obligations just as an individual adult has obligations.

  • Lisa Ansell 11th Oct '10 - 9:17am

    Although I dont find it as offensive, as being told two or three times daily- that my decision to leave my husband(luckily for me, it was a decision, for many it isnt) means that my daughter shouldnt have been born, or that I should have kept my legs shut- or that the policies which mean that work no longer gives a way out of poverty- are a fair consquence of me having sex with my husband. I certainly dont find it as offensive as watching my friend go to the man who beat her weekly, to find the shortfall between her housing benefit, salary,. and rent. I dont find it as offensive as listening to my friends cry- because next month employment where I live is going to rise by 40%-while any chance of state support is pulled away.

    And I dont find it as offensive as the Liberal Democrats deciding that any carer who is managing against all odds to get a salary like that in a labour market so hostile to mothers- should have child benefit withdrawn because they are the ‘top earners’ in teh country- while it remains for households with twice the income- because their marital status is approved of.

    I dont find it as offensive as being told to accept that as part of the great liberal tradition.

  • This thread should be posted to every Lib Dem in the country. Then those of you who still can tell the diffrence between Lisa’s anger through living in the hard reality of coalition Britain and the prissy middle class arrogance of the blinkerd chatterers responding so innefectually to her can go and form a principled Lib Dem independent movement you may be suprised at how much support you’d get.

  • David Thorpe
    You talk about the little englander tendancy in the Tory party begging the question WHY THE HELL ARE YOU CONTENT JOINING FORCES WITH A MOVEMENT THAT CONTAINS SUCH CREATURES.Especially as it leads to you having to do absurd intelectual handstands to justify it.Also as far as getting uppity about your victims getting personal get used to it when people are attacked they tend to fight back.This is why there were baying crowds outside your conference and why you are doomed in coalition because your Tory masters dont give a toss.You to your credit do and they will exploit that to your cost.Dump the coalition show some principle rejoin the progressive side (that means not joining Labour before you accuse me of tribalism).

  • r patey
    Labour are no good.
    There is nothing progressive about ID cards and all the other stuff.
    The 1970s were a difficult time when a Labour government made spending cuts.
    In those years I cut out booze so I was able save money and my health.
    (Not all men are wife beaters.Many farangs treat their wives very well.)
    If Labour were still in power they would be making cuts.
    As for you living in another country, DPRK is no workers paradise.

  • Manfarang.

    Outgoings when working full time-

    £1600 per month coming in- working as a FULL time social worker. Extra unpaid hours required to do job- 20-30 at home on top of full time work.


    £500 rent
    £600 childcare
    £100 council tax
    £80 gas
    £40 Electricity
    £13 Water Rates
    £12 Internet- required in order to do job
    £100 travel to work
    £80 student loan
    £69 loan(taken out so that I coudl obtain somewhere to live when I left husband).

    Please tell me what you would like me to cut out to feed and clothe a child, and myself, and still cover the cost of being at work?

  • As for you not beating your wife. My husband didnt beat me either. He is a good man. But that doesnt change that domestic violence is a major problem in this country. Even the coalition agree that.

  • Oh, and those incomings included the £10 a month housing benefit which enabled me to at least meet most of my BASIC living costs.

  • MY friend Hannahs expenses are slightly different.

    She works, but earned nowhere near what I earned.

    She has £1200 a month to pay in childcare, in order to work.

  • manfr whatever I doubt its your real name.
    I’m urging decent Lib Dems to go independent not join Labour.And though she obviousley dosnt need my protection your comments to Lisa are despicable.This is what happens when internet hobby politicos meet real struggling voters with the guts to stick up for their interests and the guts to use their real names.
    I have been told off patronised and moderated on here repeatedly when I tell my workmates staring redundancy in the face my fellow parents looking for work opportunities for their kids and friends laid off and pilloried as spongers by your new pals in the press they seem oddly unimpressed that I have incurred the dissaproval of Lib Dem bloggers strange how the proles refuse to know their place innit.

  • Lisa Ansell 11th Oct '10 - 1:31pm

    Oh and the figures above- they were the good times.

    When tax credits were seen as a legitimate means of ensuring that mothers like me worked. I wouldnt get housing benefit now. If I got a job taking home 4k a year more than that- I would automatically lose any tax credits- and lose ANY help wth childcare. Which would make me significantly worse off than I was before.

    If I managed to achieve the holy grail of aj ob that actually paid childcare AND rent- and left me a couple of hundred quid a month to spread across other expenses- I would lose child benefit.

    IF I didn’t work, ,or if I like most other mothers- found that the state of the labour market meant I couldnt get a job- (especially given the impact of the upcoming cuts on ‘female’ professions’) I would find myself on jobseekers allowance- and at the end of 12 months, regardless of my circumstances would lose an extra 10percent housing benefit.

    Am still waiting to have my newfound economic freedom explained to me. Anyone?
    On the upside- if I bagged a high earning man- I would receive tax benefit to reward me for getting married….

  • david thorpe 11th Oct '10 - 2:03pm

    its easy to come up with random examples.

    wayne rooney for his child.

    Dop they need it?

    I know those are extreme examples, but your giving extreme examples ot back up your argument and in truth extreme examples serve no purpose, there are injustices under every system, its discussing the median that serves everyone best

  • r patey
    There is nothing despicable about telling someone to give up alcohol.
    I have known many whose lives have been ruined by it.
    Temperance was the strengh of the Liberal Party and I make no apologies.
    If you are concerned about hardship then please make a donation to the
    Karen refugees on the Thai-Burma border.

  • Lisa Ansell 11th Oct '10 - 2:31pm

    I am not giving extreme examples to back up my argument.

    These are not extreme examples. £600 per month is not extreme childcare costs. £1200 per month is not an extreme childcare cost for 2 children. THis is how women are able to work. Their children need taking care of.

    And this government has ensured that single parents up and down the spectrum have been punished for being single. Which of my examples is extreme. I have very deliberately stuck to examples of people i know.

    I am sorry if it offends, or doesnt fit with Lib Dem rhetoric- but this is now the reality for the majority of workingmothers, who do not have husbands. And deliberately so.

  • Lisa Ansell 11th Oct '10 - 2:37pm

    I am still waiting for y ou to tell me how my economic freedom is given to me by these policies.

    If I am on benefits and dont work, I will be pushed onto jobseekers allowance. And if I do not manage to find work within 12 months, will have my housing benefit cut.(which on average falls about £100 short of rent- Shelter Research, also governments own research into LHA).

    If I get a job which pays under £21k a year, and need housing benefit it will not be there.

    If I get a job at 25k- my tax credits stop. Regardless of hwo much childcare I am paying out.

    If I manage to get a job that pays childcare AND rent- I am classed as being one of the wealthiest families in teh country and lose my child benefit.

    Please explain to me which of these examples is extreme??? THese are the realities of the coalitions policies. And how dare you tell me I am picking extreme examples.

    I do not know a single one of my friends who will not be affected by these policies- and I do not know a single one of my friends, who post October will be able to meet their basic living costs. Some of them work, some of them dont, some of them earn more than others- but the thing we ALL have in common- is we dont have a husband(some left, some got restraining orders, some were left, and some didnt have a husband in the first place) and we do have children who require childcare.

    NOw instead of calling me a liar, and telling me I am offering extreme examples- please could you demonstrate to me- at what earnings level I can get out of poverty please. YOu have said that this coalition is giving me economic freedom, and I would like you to tell me how this will manifest itself??

  • Lisa Ansell 11th Oct '10 - 2:43pm

    And we havent even begun to talk about the effect of children on your earnings potential, or the level of discrimination against working mothers across all sectors. Or the fact that your earnings potential, because you have a 24/7 job- is hit by on average about a third(and for many much more).

    We havent mentioned the overrepresentation of working mothers in the people who are about to be made unemployed-or the difficulty of competing in a labour market when you are the sole carer for children.

    I have sat here and been told i am being offensive, I am lying, I should spend less…I am still waiting for an actual response based on facts. Not on a desire to make me go away and stop bursting the bubble of the rhetoric around Beveridge.

    Coudl you please explain how a single parent is supposed to get out of poverty without getting married now.

  • And the reality of a financial collapse would leave millions
    wirh no job, no money and no savings,

  • Lisa Ansell 11th Oct '10 - 2:57pm

    And forcing so many women out of work, and onto benefits helps the economy how? Raising children in poverty means they are less likely to work in future, not more- and women being helped to work throughout the time they need to pay childcare increases the chances of them remaining economically active.

    To be honest Manfarang- I wont be responding to your posts anyway- as you haevnt said anything that demonstrates even the slightest grasp of either economics, social policy, or combining work and motherhood.

    David Abbot on the other hand is adamant that I am being given economic freedom- and I want to know how.

  • Lisa Ansell 11th Oct '10 - 2:58pm

    Thorpe- not Abbot.

  • Manfarang wrote-
    “And the reality of a financial collapse would leave millions
    wirh no job, no money and no savings”

    Are we talking about the Bank Bailouts now?
    You really can’t be serious that the financial future of the country depends benefit cuts surely, slim down the the system yes, make it more efficient and effective yes, but actually take money away from the most needy/disabled most definitely NO (not talking about CB in this instance but other benefits)

    @ David, have you read my last post, I’d like your opinion

  • I am welled schooled in economics. politics and sociology.
    Marxist-Leninism really.
    Years ago you could haved solved your problems by going
    to the GDR or DDR as I like to call it.Just take the S Bahn
    into East Berlin.
    We had day care we had jobs we had Spring we had Summer!!!
    It collapsed.
    Listen to the East German Anthem on Youtube.

  • Are you saying now that anyone who argues against the coalition policies concerning the future of welfare in this country belong in a failed 1980s communist country?
    Is that really the sum of your argument?
    if it is then my advice to Lisa is … don’t bother replying.

  • nige
    Cut Trident (a cold war relic)
    End unwinnable wars
    Higher taxes for the better off.
    Cut welfare benefits from the middle class not the poor.
    Proper Bank regulation.

  • I can’t argue with many aspects your last post except with the removal of some ‘Universal’ benefits for reason I’ve previously stated above. it’s the same stance the Party had not too long ago.

  • Failed state?
    The GDR was ranked 10th in the world as an industrial state.
    Shipbuilding, cars, optical equipment………

    Now where is the industry in Britain?
    We should be the leaders in computer and other high technology.

  • “Now where is the industry in Britain?”
    Now where is the GDR? 🙂

  • The same place as Britain will be if it is not foward looking.
    Yes those East German party members where a dull lot.

  • Spelling mistake!
    vere a dull lot.

  • David Thorpe
    Extreme examples of the rich Alan Sugar and extreme examples of underserved hardship are not compatabe
    specially when you are at the sharp end..If the needs of the poor disadvantaged or ill are nothing more than statistical anomolies to you then maybe you shouldjust join the Torys.
    When my mate lost his job of 20 years because the local authority decided to pre empt George and his cuts he and his wife were so glad someone was discussing the median.

  • Lisa Ansell 11th Oct '10 - 7:22pm

    None of the examples I have given have been extreme. I think my salary was fairly average, and the childcare examples I gave were also fairly average. I have no need to give extreme examples- the reality of these policies on the majority of lone parents with young children are fairly damn shocking in themselves.

  • Lisa Ansell
    £1600 per month coming in- working as a FULL time social worker.

    So the salary level at which it is proposed that Child Benefit is withdrawn is something like 50% + more than you were on? How are your personal cicumstances relevant to the subject matter of this thread?

    I still think the issue is: Given the choice of defending a benefit to those on £12,000 per annum, or defending a benefit to those on £50,000 or £60,000 per annum, which do defend first? It happens that polls show that most people agree with what the Government is proposing.

  • Yeah it was. And its half that of a two parent family. Please do tell me how a single carer, with an average mortgage and a childcare bill- is in one of the wealthiest households in the country??
    And the polls show a lot of things. Your response also shows a lot of things. Still that teach em for getting uppity and getting out of poverty.

  • Oh, I forgot- the latest in a long line of policies to tell single parents to get back to their husbands(coupled with an announcement that the marriage tax break is being launched..a tax break which always benefits the better off)- is just a bureacratic oversight,. Nowt personal…

    Listen to yourselves.

  • Most people agree with most of the policies that punish single parents. Its because people like your mate THorpe- use extreme examples like Alan Sugar, or the families of 6 scroungers in mansions in Kensington…makes it all seem really fair. Plays up to the ‘why should I pay for them mentality’.

    You are right- I should resent any single parents earning a wage decent enough to cover mortgage and childcare, and leave £750 for bills. Start blaming them…its the coalition way.

  • £492 per week gross, after mortgage and childcare. Disgusting- how dare women earn so much. Damn right you should take their child benefit. What about those poor people on twice that??? Had the decency to stay married?
    Richest women in the country. Definitely.

  • @Lisa Ansell

    Your last comment unintelligible. “Yeah it was.”

    Yeah it was, what?

    Are you talking about people on £25,000 or £30,000, or about people on £50,000 or £60,000? Because this thread is about the latter.

    Still that teach em for getting uppity and getting out of poverty.

    That’s a classic argument against a progressive tax system – if you really believe that, why on earth did you go and join the Labour Party?

  • Lisa Ansell
    None of the examples I have given have been extreme. I think my salary was fairly average

    But that’s the whole point, which you really do not (deliberately??) seem to get.

    The Child Benefit cut applies to the very highest earners, not people whose salary is “fairly average”.

  • Given the choice of defending a benefit to those on £12,000 per annum, or defending a benefit to those on £50,000 or £60,000 per annum, which do defend first?

  • YOu seriously think that £44k a year, minus an average mortgage and childcare places someone in the highest income families in the UK? When the same person, if she had a husband and another income coming in- could still conceivably receive child benefit? I am not saying its poverty by any means. I didnt realise it was a prerequisite for single parents to be in poverty. I know your government have done everything they can to ensure there is absolutely no way out of it- even down to giving those who have the temerity not to be- a swift kick- but actually a lone carer on £44k with the expenses that come with it- nowhere near the richest families in the country. No where near.

    And as for your ridiculous assertions that yet another policu which doesnt slightly discriminate- but actually ensures that households with TWICE the income are still treated with preference- is a bureacratic oversight is patently ridiculous.

    THe fact that you and Mr THorpe need to go to extraordinary convulutions to prove it. The fact that Mr Thorpe had to go out of his way to omit single lone, working carers from his example says a lot.

    You have both shown yourselves to be completely unable to justify the sheer misogyny of this governments policies- you have resorted to calling me a liar- accusing me of using extreme figures(when I used an average salary, and an average childcare cost, and real examples of real people), and had the audacity to accuse me of being offensive.

    Mr THorpe even went as far as saying that these policies somehow liberated women. Seriously- you need to get a grip.

    YOu are an absolute joke. It would be funny if the lives of so many women and children werent about to be destroyed.

    Mr THorpe gave the example of a night on a park bench. NOt comparable to deliberately placing women in poverty, removing every way of getting out of it- and making sure you give a swift kick to any woman who dares to do so.

    Marriage or poverty. The choice of the great liberal tradition. Sorry, was I supposed to want to give a swift kick too- being on the breadline supposed to make me resent anyone who isnt?

    Having worked in the Inland Revenue, the DWP and local authorities- it aint that hard to look at household incomes through tax figures. Really isnt. It just doesnt have the desired effect.

  • Why on earth do you keep repeating the question? It is very clear. 44k woman on her own. No child benefit. Dual parent family, £82k a year- do get it. You defend that? Is going to be hi,arious watching you lot try to justify your record when the Tories have ditched you.

  • NOthing progressive about kicking single parents to encourage them to get married Mr Shaw. Really. The fact that you think there is, speaks volumes. As for teh Labour party- I rejoined because they were my party before they were Tony Blairs.

    http://www.labourlist.org/re-join-labour-party-lisa-ansell There ou go- a full explanation about why I rejoined the Labour party. Lucky I didnt join the party I was out canvassing for. That would have been an excercise in masochism in retrospect. You suggest single parents should join the lib dems? HAha!

  • Lisa Ansell
    You seriously think that £44k a year, minus an average mortgage and childcare places someone in the highest income families in the UK?

    You don’t live in Notting Hill or somewhere like that, do you?

    1. A salary of £45,000, £50,000 or £60,000pa is among the very highest in the country, and don’t let your “champagne socialist” chums tell you otherwise.

    2. Your reference to having to pay for “mortgage and childcare places” suggests that you think that lesser mortals on £15,000 or £20,000 or £25,000 pa (i.e. the overwhelming majority of people in this country – at least where I live) don’t have similar financial burdens.

  • So are you suggesting that single parents SHOULD be in poverty, and any who arent are the richest people in the country?

    I havent suggested any such thing. In fact at 22k, a morgage is pretty much unaffordable for a single carer because of the cost of childcare. And once a single carer hits £25k, will be thrown back into poverty because your party dont even recognise the cost of childcare. Hardly likely to be able to afford a mortgage, and if they are paying one- the money is coming out of a much smaller pot.

    I know that a mortgage and childcare is a damn sight smaller chunk of your income, when you are a two parent hosuehold with £82k a year coming in.

    My ‘champagn socialist’ chums? Sorry- my friends aren’t champagne socialists. Go back up the thread and see how my ‘chums’ are being treated by your party. Still, its the great liberal tradition.

  • You are suggesting that lone carers earning 44k are the richest families in the country? And two parent families on £82k a year need child benefit more?

  • It is true what they say about LibDem voice though. You dont do debate or facts do you? You mainly do accusing people of lying, being Labour tribalists(lol)…and then switch to using extreme examples and convolutions of logic. Really didnt understand the capacity for self deception. Do you honestly think this government are progressive?

  • Lisa Ansell
    Why on earth do you keep repeating the question?

    The only question I have repeated is one which you and certain “Labour tribalists” (on another thread) have persistently declined to answer. It is this:

    Given the choice of defending a benefit to those on £12,000 per annum, or defending a benefit to those on £50,000 or £60,000 per annum, which do defend first?

    If you have any sensible answer to that key question I am sure we would genuinely like to hear it.

    Another (related) question would be this:

    So, what’s your alternative?

  • Not Lib Dems- Libdem voice. (Sorry to any Lib Dems offended- I get what it is to see your party hijacked and your values abandoned- is unpleasant)

  • Given the choice of defending a benefit to those on £12,000 per annum, or defending a benefit to those on £50,000 or £60,000 per annum, which do defend first?

    Sorry- was it a choice of which benefit to defend? Sorry- I didnt realise. From where I was sitting your party have just been fairly systematic in ensuring that single parents at EVERY income level had been kicked. What with the research you are using to guide your social policy showing that what women really need, is to be married- I didnt realise it was that I had to choose how you kicked single parents.

    There was me thinking such outright misogny was offensive all the way through.

    You still havent answered me- Is a single carer on 44k a year, paying childcare(an expense incurred when any single carer works) and a mortgage(presumably on own…with them being er..single) one of the richest households in the country? And a couple on £82k a year isnt?

  • Lisa Ansell
    You are suggesting that lone carers earning 44k are the richest families in the country? And two parent families on £82k a year need child benefit more?

    Now you’re getting silly.

    People on £44,000, £50,000 or £60,000pa are among the very highest earners in the country and so two people earning £82,000pa between them clearly fall into the same category.

    At what level would you like to see a two parent family lose benefit? £44,000pa combined, or a bit more? Would £55,000pa combined be the sort of level you would support?

  • People on £44,000, £50,000 or £60,000pa are among the very highest earners in the country and so two people earning £82,000pa between them clearly fall into the same category.

    Apparently households with £50’000 and £60’000 are not the richest households in the country, if there are two people heading it. Hadn’t you heard?

  • Who says?

    I think we really are having difficulty following your logic (?!) here.

  • @ Simon Shaw
    If you wish to see a defence of Child Benefit in regard to it’s universality (admittedly not written by a Labour tribalist as you wish but by a Lib Dem) please see my posts above dated 10th at 10:35 am and on the 11th at 9:12 am, admitted they are based on principle and not example but they are valid points none the less.
    (I don’t expect you to agree btw 😉 )

  • @nige
    I don’t agree with your earlier posting, as it happens. I do think there is a good argument for universality on CB, not that you’d hear it from Lisa et al.

    It is this: if you have two families both on – whatever figure you like – say £200,000 pa, but one family has children and the other doesn’t, then the family with children is “less well off” than the other, and CB helps to compensate.

    I personally support that argument (in principle).

    The problem is my first (still unanswered) question, which pertains to the current financial predicament inherited from Labour:

    Given the choice of defending a benefit to those on £12,000 per annum, or defending a benefit to those on £50,000 or £60,000 per annum, which do you defend first?

  • I know that you dont get the logic. I think you have to get so used to convoluting logic to defend the policies of this government- that I am surprised you even remember the word’s definition.

    If you are a family earning £60k a year and you are headed by two people- you still get child benefit. You are the squeezed middle.

    If you are a lone carer- and you bring in 44k- you are one of the richest families in the UK.

    I am not saying that 44k a year is poor by any means. It isnt poverty. But a household with one person earning 44k a year, is no more one of the richest households in the UK_ than a two parent household with both parents earning £22k a year each.

    The idea that it is a bureacratic oversight is ludicrous. As is the ridiculous claim that your party are giving women economic freedom.

    Saying that-when you have the poverty that your other policies create explained to you- you dont get that either. You accuse me of lying, or using extreme examples.

    You just keep repeatig ‘progressive progressive progressive” am sure you might convince yourself eventually.

    You might want to read the piece about why I rejoined the labour party. THere are some lessons in there for you. I am not a tribalist- I retained the ability to question labour’s actions when I rejoined.

  • @Lisa Ansell
    And still no answer to the question(s) I posed.

    Answering any of the following would be a start:

    1. Given the choice of defending a benefit to those on £12,000 per annum, or defending a benefit to those on £50,000 or £60,000 per annum, which do you defend first?

    2. So, what’s your alternative?

    3. At what level would you like to see a two parent family lose benefit? £44,000pa combined, or a bit more? Would £55,000pa combined be the sort of level you would support?

  • Because your question is ridiculous- and doesnt address the problem here. Is a two parent household where they are both earning 22k one of the richest households in the country? Of course not.

    It doesnt matter how many questions you ask to detract from basic facts. Single parent household. 44k a year- wont get child benefit. Classed as the richest families in teh country.

    82k between two parents- course they still get it. Its a bureacratic oversight. Fact that itw as announced alongside married persons tax allowance, to appease those households of 88k a year who lose their child benefit….another example of coalition misogyny.

    You use a ridiculous rhetorical device- to try and detract from basic facts.

  • And the fact that you accuse me of having ‘champagne socialist’ chums- when you can clearly see the effect of your policies on my life. THe lives of my friends. Because of who we fuck. Who we sleep with. And you still have the audacity to sit there accusing me of what? Living in Notting Hill? Being rich?

    You want to see how much money I have going through my bank? You want me to upload pics of the holes in my shoes? Fuck off.

  • Tell you what I’ll do. I’ll let you know as each of my friends has to leave the town we live in. I’ll let you know which ones bag a man- and manage to avoid watching their kids grow up in poverty. HOw fucking dare you.

  • A 44k a year household does not suddenly become the richest households in the country- because they are headed by one person. It really is that simple. Or are you saying that households where both parents earn 22k a year are the wealthiest in the country?

  • Lisa Ansell
    You are suggesting that lone carers earning 44k are the richest families in the country? And two parent families on £82k a year need child benefit more?

    I assume you mean that you think “two parent families on £82k a year” need CB less rather than more.

    I agree with you!

    That’s why we are keen to know your views on this point:

    At what level would you like to see a two parent family lose benefit? £44,000pa combined, or a bit more? Would £55,000pa combined be the sort of level you would support?

  • And families where two parents earn 22k a year are the wealthiest in the country? Are they?

  • I woudl support a level that reflected household income. Not an arbitrary line that just happened to punish women for not being married- yet again.

    Why is the line half where it is for a two parent household? Are the expenses halved? Why do families with two parents who lose child benefit, get a tax break as a sweetener- when they are allowed twice the income?

    We could go on forever. Basically you dont have an answer. Not one. THis is why you have resorted to accusing me of champagne socialism- when there are days when I cant even afford milk. YOu accuse me of being a tribalist because I dare to challenge the crap that you spout. I have been accused of lying, and then when I offered an average salary, MY salary and childcare- was told I was offering ‘extreme’ examples.

    Basically you dont have an answer. So you sit there and keep justifying the blatant attacks on women who have the temerity to leave their husbands. And while hundreds and thousands of families take shit from your party, becaise your government think women should be forced to stay married- and choose poverty if they leave.

    You are right though- £44k is a very high in comparison to the rest of the single parent you fuck over. It just isnt that high when compared to the rest of HOUSEHOLDS in teh country. What- did you think we get a discount because there is only one person there?

  • Lisa Ansell
    And families where two parents earn 22k a year are the wealthiest in the country? Are they?
    You’re the one who said that, not me.

    What I said was this: “A salary of £45,000, £50,000 or £60,000pa is among the very highest in the country.”

    As we appear to agree that “two parent families on £82k a year” need CB less, we really would be interested in knowing what you think would be the right level for CB to be withdrawn in the case of two parent families.

    £44,000pa combined, or a bit more? Would £55,000pa combined be the sort of level you would support?

  • @Lisa Ansell
    If you prefer, as an alternative more “broad brush” question, answering the following would also help:

    So, what’s your alternative?

  • Lisa Ansell
    when there are days when I cant even afford milk.

    But I had the impression you were not someone who is currently earning £45,000 or £50,000 or £60,000pa. In fact, you may well not be working now. Even when you working, you indicated your earnings were earning around £25,000 to £30,000pa gross.

    Assuming your earnings are, indeed, below £45,000pa, aren’t you a good argument against yourself?

    If you can’t afford to buy milk sometimes, it is surely low-earners such as yourself who should continue to be a priority for CB, not those on a salary of £45,000 or £50,000 or £60,000pa.

    This is what I have been arguing all along. We appear to agree! Excellent!

  • @Lisa Ansell
    I am aware you can take umbrage at anything anyone says, so please don’t think my comment above: “In fact, you may well not be working now” was in any way a dig. I wrote the above based on my recollection of what you had said.

    Having reread some of you previous postings, I rather suspect you may be now working part-time on less than the £25,000 to £30,000pa (deduced from your reported net monthly pay of £1600) you were earning when you were full-time.

    Anyway, doesn’t affect my point.

  • “Kinder, liebe Kinder, es hat mir Spaß gemacht.
    Nun schnell ins Bett und schlaft recht schön.
    Dann will auch ich zur Ruhe gehn. Ich wünsch euch gute Nacht.”

  • Lisa Ansell 12th Oct '10 - 8:13am

    Simon-0 you keep telling yourself you are progressive.

    THe figures above were when I was working full time. And included tax credits and housing benefit. As it is- your party took away my chance of working in teh profession I borrowed £12k a year to train for. I wasnt earning anywhere near 25k a year. I know you need to keep telling yourself that its all lies.

    YOu disgust me- but actually- thanks for your responses. YOu have shown just what a progressive party you are- and how you respond to being shown the effect of your policies.

    GUess what? Accusing me of being a tribalist didnt do it. CHampagne socialist? Liar? Extreme examples? Yet still here we are. You trying to justify your party having another kick at single parents.

    I think you need to learn to couht mate. THat was including tax credits and housing benefit. And it still doesnt change that a HOUSEHOLD onm 44k a year is NOT one of the richest in the country. Any more than a household with two parents on £22k a year is. You can try and tie yourself in knots if you like. Tax credits helped pay for my childcare. Take a look at those numbers Simon- under your party will be removing that help as soon as someone hits the £25k a year mark, I was paying childcare for ONE child. God help those who are paying for childcare for two. Still if they lose their jobs, they will be forced out of their homes for being scroungers.

    As for me working, I have been self employed, for quite a while, and am trying to set up a company to provide work to the people that your party fucked over because they werent married. It isnt easy. I currently have abouy £12k a year ALL IN coming into my house- the alternative for me and my friends- is leaving the town where we live. Which is still a distinct possibility.

  • Lisa Ansell 12th Oct '10 - 8:29am

    Simon. THese are facts.

    THe level at which lone carers lose child benefit is at HALF where a two parent household will lose it. And two parent households will receive a tax break to sweeten the blow-even though they need a household income of twice a lone parent. Most lone parents are women.

    Clear as day. NO matter how many convulutions you and Mr THorpe go through to justify it.

    Progressive. Yeah.

  • Lisa Ansell 12th Oct '10 - 8:39am

    Although I must thank you- your ‘calculations’ about my income illustrate my point very clearly.
    £1600 a month is enough live on. If you dont have childcare.

    The one expense that makes lone carers different.

    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=334 Average household incomes- gross.
    You take the average of £8000 a year childcare off £44k gross- you get a HOUSEHOLD pretty near average.

    But dont let that get in the way of you telling yourself how progressive you are.

  • @Lisa Ansell

    I said this:
    Assuming your earnings are, indeed, below £45,000pa, aren’t you a good argument against yourself?

    If you can’t afford to buy milk sometimes, it is surely low-earners such as yourself who should continue to be a priority for CB, not those on a salary of £45,000 or £50,000 or £60,000pa.

    This is what I have been arguing all along. We appear to agree! Excellent!

    Lisa Ansell
    I wasnt earning anywhere near 25k a year

    That makes my case even stronger!

    May I remind you that this thread is about whether CB should be withdrawn from the very highest earners, i.e. those on £45,000, or £50,000 or £60,000 (or even more) pa. It is not all about you, Lisa. In fact it is nothing about you, unless you are one of those high earners, which you aren’t.

    Your point is that as someone on an income of less than £25,000pa, you are sometimes unable to afford to buy milk.

    How is that in any way an argument for giving CB to the very highest earners – surely it is exactly the opposite!

  • Lisa Ansell 12th Oct '10 - 9:43am

    The level is set for HALF for single parent households. THe level it is set at, minus childcare would take you squarely within the realms of average. And two parent households who lose the benefit at TWICE the level of income- get a sweetener in the form of a tax break. Doestn matter how you dress it up- is same old coalition.

    THe fact that you can even try to tell yourself that that is progressive is ridiculous. You lot keep saying progressive and fair, progressive and fair.

  • @Lisa Ansell
    Sorry to repeat myself, but as I have a lot of sympathy for your argument there, I will repeat an earlier question I asked of you:

    As we appear to agree that “two parent families on £82k a year” need CB less, we really would be interested in knowing what you think would be the right level for CB to be withdrawn in the case of two parent families.

    £44,000pa combined, or a bit more? Would £55,000pa combined be the sort of level you would support?

  • Simon- you think that is the question here- and you deliberately miss the point. As does Mr Thorpe. In fact you both go out of your way to miss the point. Which tells me you understand exactly why it is wrong to have tax policies which are so openly about punishing women for leaving their husbands.

    It would seem blindingly obvious to anyone not reconciling themselves with membership of the Tory party- what the problem is.

  • The question here is about child benefit not about divorce.
    In the days of William Beveridge it was called FAMILY allowance.
    Yes my mother was given 5 bob for me.

  • Manfarang. Your children continue to exist after your marriage ends. And people generally dont end marriages for frivolous reasons. The state has no place punishing people for ending romantic relationships. Whats next= tax credits increases for a healthy sex life?

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