Vox Pop: Is it right to scrap child benefit for higher earners?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Chancellor George Osborne has announced that parents earning more than 43,875 will not receive child benefit from 2013.

NO - Anne Longfield, chief executive, 4Children

Hard-working, middle-income families are already worried about how they will accommodate the cuts and tax rises announced in June's emergency budget. Removing their child benefit will be a damaging blow for those families already feeling the squeeze. While we recognise the serious economic situation, it is disappointing that hard-pressed families should be the ones to have to carry the can.

Universal child benefit has long been recognised as a symbol of the value our society places on families, something the Chancellor recognised in June. Removing this support from 15 per cent of families seriously undermines that commitment.

YES - Neera Sharma, assistant director of policy, Barnardo's

It is shameful that almost four million children are living in poverty (after housing costs). It is even more shameful that the outcomes for these children will be much poorer than those of their better-off peers - pupils eligible for free school meals, for example, are half as likely to get five top grades at GCSE as their more affluent peers.

Reducing child poverty must remain a high priority, but with the current budget deficit we must look at all the options to redistribute money to those families who need it most. Cutting child benefit for people who do not need it makes moral and economic sense.

NO - Alison Garnham, chief executive, Child Poverty Action Group

This is not the right thing to do. This is a new child penalty.

Once again families with children are being expected to bear the brunt of the cuts. This is taking money directly from children and from their mothers, who are the main recipients of this benefit. It is counterproductive to ignore the role this benefit plays in family finances.

We urge both the government parties to honour their election pledges not to means test child benefit and to recognise that investing in ending child poverty may save the government £17bn a year through lower benefit spending, greater tax revenue and lower public spending.

NO - Dr Katherine Rake, chief executive, The Family and Parenting Institute

Child benefit is enormously popular among families and is simple to administer.

Universal child benefit sends out a message that children are our society's future. It recognises the importance of family life by supporting every single family with a child. For many women, even those in higher income households, this is the only source of income they receive directly, giving them independence and control of family spending.

There has now been a suite of measures which have hit those with children, at a time when many parents are struggling to make ends meet.

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