Child benefit change is right approach, David Cameron says

 

David Cameron: "This will raise £2 billion a year"

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David Cameron has said the decision to remove child benefit from better-off families is "the right approach".

He told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show "85% of families" would get the payments in "exactly the way they do now".

The prime minister also said the government was "absolutely right" to limit most working age benefits to a 1% rise, which will be the subject of a Commons vote on Tuesday.

Labour's Ed Balls called the child benefit changes "perverse".

Mr Cameron's comments come ahead of the coalition's mid-term review on Monday.

Changes coming into effect from Monday will see families with one parent earning more than £50,000 lose part of their child benefit.

It will be fully withdrawn where one parent earns above £60,000.

'Fundamentally fair'

Analysis

If you or your partner get child benefit and either of you has an income of above £50,000 a year you may have to pay more tax from Monday.

The income that counts is confusingly called 'net-adjusted income'. In fact, it is your gross income before tax from all sources but minus pension contributions, child care vouchers, and gift aid donations.

If you live as a couple it is the higher income that is counted not your joint income.

If that income is more than £50,000, the person who earns it will have to pay a new tax called 'high income child benefit charge'. It will be collected through self-assessment and you must register with HMRC by 7 October.

If that income is £50,000 to £60,000, the charge will be less than the child benefit received on a sliding scale - at £55,000 it will be 50% of the child benefit received.

If that income is £60,000 or more, the charge will equal the child benefit received. In other words, one partner will get the child benefit but the higher earning partner will pay it all back in the new tax.

Q&A: Child benefit changes

Defending the policy, Mr Cameron said: "I'm not saying those people are rich, but I think it is right that they make a contribution.

"This will raise £2bn a year. If we don't raise that £2bn from that group of people - the better off 15% in the country - we would have to find someone else to take it from."

He added: "I think people see it as fundamentally fair that if there is someone in the household earning over £60,000 you don't get child benefit... I think it is the right approach."

Asked about government plans to cap working age benefits at 1% - including the rise in the pay of public sector workers, out-of-work benefits, and tax credits - Mr Cameron said "those are all in my view absolutely right decisions".

"We need to control public sector pay... we need to limit the growth of welfare payments overall - and that must include the tax credit system, and for those out of work it's right that their incomes aren't going up faster than people in work."

The prime minister also insisted the government was going "full steam ahead" with a packed agenda in the second half of its term.

In the wide-ranging interview, Mr Cameron made a number of major points, including:

  • He promised British voters they would be offered a "real choice" on Europe at the next election
  • On the economy, he said it was vital for a country to be able to pay its debts - maintaining "a low rate of interest" so it could borrow money cheaply
  • He said he was "absolutely determined" to overhaul the deportation system so the radical cleric Abu Qatada and others could be deported from the UK before they appeal
  • The prime minister also said he was "absolutely clear" Britain would defend the Falkland Islands in the face of mounting pressure from Argentina
  • He also confirmed he wanted to remain prime minister until 2020
'No pleasure'

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Chancellor George Osborne said he took "no great pleasure" in reducing people's benefits but that it was needed to ensure a "brighter future".

Labour's Ed Balls says that the government should tax the richest people

Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps told the BBC's World at One: "I have three children I've filled in the form. I totally understand and get how frustrating these things are."

Mr Balls, Labour's shadow chancellor, told Sky News the changes to child benefits were "perverse".

"It's a complete shambles," he said.

"We're going to have many many hundreds of thousands of people who will end end up filing in tax returns because they didn't realise they were supposed to apply by today not to get the child benefit.

"I've always supported a principled approach to the welfare state which we would call progressive universalism."

 

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  • rate this
    +14

    Comment number 980.

    A married couple, both earning 30K, family take home (after tax) is £46K
    A married couple, one earning 60K, other not working, take home is 41.5K

    The taxation system already penalises single earner families, taking away child benefit is just another penalisation for being in stable relationship. The system rewards divorce!

    I agree with balancing the books, but the approach is ill though out.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 979.

    He is living in lalala land! This is not fair - at the end of the day the child is going to be affected. It's okay for him, he's rolling in money!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 978.

    As a lifelong conservative voter being the sole earner on £65K with 3 children this will have a massive impact on my family income. I find it completely unfair that a family with joint-income of nearly 50% more can retain this benefit. So much for the conservative support for the family unit and the 'big society'. I will never vote conservative again - as we are not all in this together!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 977.

    i cannot understand how a lone parent eaning £50,000 can lose child benefit but a two parent family with both parents earning £49,500 each can keep their benefit surely it would be fairer to say over £60,000 per household would lose CB that way look at the money wasted on man hours,paper,postage would also be saved.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 976.

    The Tories' 1% cap on benefit rises is a real terms cut for working people. Dave says this attack on the working poor is 'fundamentally fair' and 'the right approach'. He plays with figures: 1% of a benefit is far less than 1% of a decent wage. But so few get a decent wage, and that's our present problem, not benefits, however much Dave tries to distract us while he dismantles the welfare state.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 975.

    Damn benefit scroungers moaning about benefit cuts. Some might have to send the kids to state school - God forbid.

    -------
    -If you think a Charge Nurse or Warrant Officer in the Army or a Police Sergeant or Fire Service Station Officer all of whom lose all of their child benefit are sufficiently "rich" to send their children to fee paying schools you are as deranged as Cameron and Osborne

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 974.

    Why did he not just say we had to do this or we could not have lowered tax for the very rich and that would and that would of upset his friends and family

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 973.

    For David Cameron to stand on National Television and say its the right thing to do knowing that a family where both parents work could be potentially 40k better off just shows you what an incompetant idiot he really is. He's an absolue liar and should be stuck off for this sham.

    Surely stopping legal aid for terrosrists and prisoners and stopping international aid should be priority.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 972.

    This is a great decision. All of you people wanting child benefits when you are on such high salaries are despicable. You claim that this is wrong and seem to want the right to child benefits because it is 'unfair' and you will have less money wreaks of greed. If you are earning wages that high you can afford to care for your own child. This sense of entitlement is partly why this country is broke

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 971.

    Bottom line is we are a country that suffers in silence, we will complain about child benefit but won't do anything, complain about rail fares and nothing will happen, about fuel prices and the cost of heating our homes, again do nothing.

    It's about time we stopped moaning as a nation and did something about it, because this country right now is shocking, what are we all working for anymore?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 970.

    Child benefit is not a benefit it is a redistribution of tax to the carer of children. Kids are a fiscal responsibility for 25 yrs. Noone has suggested yet how much you need to save to be able to start a family

    Yes single people lose out but the vitriol; aim it at the establishment.

    How will universal credit work if CB can't

    People will die if this goes wrong so ask difficult questions

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 969.

    Martin-Niemöller

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 968.

    Its only this government that is changing the concept of child benefit, DLA and such like into benefits that are paid to scroungers. We are one of the highest taxed nations on the planet so the state should give something back to parents and the disabled to help. After all DC claimed DLA himself. So if its OK for him why is it not OK for the rest of us.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 967.

    Child enefit should only be paid for the first child. If people choose to have lots of kids thats down to them. Whatever happened to " cutting ones cloth to suit."

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 966.

    Re 916.TheTakeleySocialist
    So true, so true. We`ve got the tabloid press to thank for turning the working class against itself. Divide and rule, and all that.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 965.

    "I still ask, how come the UK cannot afford it, even if choosing not to pay?"

    The uk could also 'afford' to give all your money to me, but that's not much of an argument to do it.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 964.

    In months to come the nasty party will be able to claim the moral high ground as they start means testing other universal benefits.

    For that is what is in store.

    Nasty.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 963.

    513.hellhesk
    My husband earns £50k then bonuses. Our daughters nursery fees are £900 a month. I currently work full time on a good salary. We have another one on the way. We need to move to a house suitable for a larger family.

    ==

    Why on earth should the taxpayer fund your lifestyle, your choice to have children and continue working and your choice to move to a larger property?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 962.

    @954 Kelly

    The extensions are probably for disabled kids, ones who need more care or mentally disabled kids. Or those trying to get through education that their families cant afford.. (so then they can get out of the poverty trap)

    There are some circumstances which do make sense in this context.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 961.

    Finally something worth applauding the government for. If 2 people both earn double the average annual wage then they shouldn't have any child benefits at all. A cap on benefits for people with more than 3 children please! I'm fed up having to pay tax for someone who doesn't know what contraception is when me and my partner can't afford to have children right now.

 

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    Chancellor George Osborne says the latest GDP figures show the recovery of the UK economy is "on track".

     
  53.  
    11:31: Poll tracker

    While we are looking at trackers, how are the parties faring? Compare current ratings from a range of pollsters, and see how parties have performed since 2010 with our interactive poll tracker.

    Poll tracker
     
  54.  
    Email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk Get involved

    Christine St Claire in UK, emails: A fifteen minute visit is just ludicrous. Of course visits need to be longer. How can anyone get the help they need in such a short time. Well done Ed Miliband, you will get my vote.

     
  55.  
    11:24: Significant slowdown? Robert Peston Business editor, BBC News

    The BBC's economics editor Robert Peston asks: How significant is the slowdown in the British economy, given that the dominant service sector is still booming, but construction is shrinking and manufacturing almost back to flatlining?

     
  56.  
    11:24: GDP figures
    Rolled up sterline notes

    Mr Balls was speaking after ONS figures showed the UK's economy grew by 2.6% last year, the fastest pace since 2007 and up from 1.7% in 2013 - although there was a slowdown in the final three months of 2014.

     
  57.  
    Email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk Get involved

    Christine Anderson in UK, emails: Unless carers are paid a decent wage and travel money the proposals won't make any difference

     
  58.  
    Tweet @BBC_HaveYourSay Get involved

    @carowilb tweets: 100 days until the general election. I'm intrigued to see what Cameron is going to come up with #NHS

     
  59.  
    11:09: Ed Balls on living standards BBC News Channel
    Ed Balls

    Shadow chancellor Ed Balls also told the BBC News Channel living standards had been stagnant for too long. "When Conservatives say they have fixed the economy, most people say who for, not for me... if that's Tory success, just think of what failure would look like."

     
  60.  
    11:00: Election pledges
    Ed Miliband David Cameron

    A quick recap - with 100 days to the election, Labour and the Conservative Party are setting out their stalls. Ed Miliband has given a speech on Labour's "10-year plan" for the NHS - which pledges new safety checks to identify people at risk of hospitalisation and recruiting 5,000 new home care - in Manchester. Meanwhile, David Cameron has been outlining plans to cut the benefits cap - from £26,000 to £23,000 - to pay for more apprenticeships.

     
  61.  
    10:50: GDP figures
    Graph showing components of UK GDP

    This is from the BBC's Business Live team: It's worth noting a couple of things from today's GDP figures. The first is that the official estimate is below the forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility at the time of the Autumn Statement that economic growth would be 3% in 2014. The second is that while, as the ONS says, there has been widespread growth across all major components of GDP since the start of 2013, the service industries remain the largest and steadiest contributor to economic growth. In fairness to the OBR, it did originally forecast GDP growth for 2014 of 2.7% back in March last year.

     
  62.  
    10:49: Mental health

    Mr Miliband says there is still a stigma with mental health, and the nation has got to find a way to talk about it.

     
  63.  
    @ChrisMasonBBC Chris Mason, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: Ed Miliband: "Because of his broken promises, what tuition fees are for Nick Clegg, the NHS has become for David Cameron."

     
  64.  
    10:40: Dementia care

    Ed Miliband is now taking questions from the audience in Trafford, including on his plans for dementia care and the role of pharmacies in the NHS.

     
  65.  
    10:39: Key principle

    A bit more on that speech by Ed Miliband - he said the "key principle" to making the NHS sustainable and successful is investment, so the NHS has "time to care".

     
  66.  
    10:33: Trust

    David Cameron can't be trusted with our NHS, Mr Miliband suggests.

     
  67.  
    10:32: 'Wrong values'

    The Labour leader says David Cameron puts the wrong values at the heart of the NHS and the future of the health service is at stake in the general election. "Let's go out and fight for it." he says.

     
  68.  
    10:30: 'No time to care'

    Mr Miliband says people in their 70s and even 80s are currently waiting hours for ambulances to arrive, getting stuck outside hospital in ambulances because A&E is full, and lying on trolleys in corridors. It is an NHS "without enough time to care", he says.

     
  69.  
    10:29: Two futures of NHS
    Ed Miliband Ed Miliband setting out his plans for the NHS

    The Labour leader says the country faces a choice of two futures - continuing with a Conservative plan, which has led to an "NHS in crisis" and "threatens the service as we know it". Or a Labour plan to "rescue" the NHS, invest in its future and join up services from home to hospital.

     
  70.  
    10:25: NHS 'in peril'

    Ed Miliband says the "precious" institution faces its "most perilous moment in a generation".

     
  71.  
    10:25: Ed Miliband on NHS

    Ed Miliband is now delivering a speech on the NHS in Trafford, Manchester.

     
  72.  
    10:24: More on GDP BBC News Channel

    The ONS's chief economist, Joe Grice, tells the BBC News Channel it's "too early to say" if this slowdown will persist. "The dominant services sector remains buoyant while the contraction has taken place in industries like construction, mining and energy supply, which can be erratic," he says.

     
  73.  
    10:23: GDP breakdown

    A breakdown of those GDP figures. The dominant services sector, which represents more than three quarters of output, grew by 0.8% - meaning services are now 7.9% ahead of their pre-downturn level at the start of 2008. Growth was dragged down by construction, which contracted by 1.8% - its worst slowdown since the second quarter of 2012.

     
  74.  
    09:54: GDP figures

    But the 0.5% growth in the final three months of 2014 represents a slight slowdown from the previous three months, which saw 0.7% growth.

     
  75.  
    09:51: GDP figures

    To put that 2.6% figure in context, that's the UK's best annual growth since 2007. In 2013, the economy grew by 1.7%.

     
  76.  
    09:49: GDP figures

    Reacting to those GDP figures, Chancellor George Osborne says they confirm the recovery is "on track". "Our plan is protecting Britain from the economic storm, with the fastest growth of any major economy in 2014. But the international climate is getting worse, and with 100 days to go until the election now is not the time to abandon that plan and return Britain to economic chaos," he says.

     
  77.  
    09:44: GDP figures

    BBC's business correspondent Ben Thompson says the ONS GDP figures are good news, but not as good as was expected. The services industry is doing quite well, but construction is dragging it down, he says.

     
  78.  
    09:32: Breaking News

    ONS says UK economy grew by 0.5% during the fourth quarter of 2014 and by 2.6% over the year.

     
  79.  
    09:27: Key dates

    The parties are ramping up their campaigns - and with 100 days until people go to the polls, the BBC's Jo Coburn highlights some key dates between now and then.

     
  80.  
    09:14: TV debates

    Here's a bit more on who said what on the TV debates this morning - and whether a deal is any closer. The latest proposal from the broadcasters suggested a seven-way debate between the leaders of the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the Greens, the SNP and Plaid Cymru on the BBC and ITV.

     
  81.  
    09:10: BBC analysis

    Get the expert analysis behind the election pledges. The BBC's Health Editor Hugh Pym blogs on Labour, the NHS and social care integration and the editor of the BBC's Political Research Unit David Cowling explains why this general election is impossible to call.

     
  82.  
    09:00: Poll tracker

    So with 100 days to go, how are the parties faring? Compare current ratings from a range of pollsters, and see how parties have performed since 2010 with our interactive poll tracker.

    Poll tracker
     
  83.  
    08:43: New nuggets Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    Norman Smith says with 100 days to go until the election, the main parties are sticking to the themes they've stuck to for weeks - Labour on the NHS, and Tories on the economy. He says there are a couple of new nuggets from David Cameron though - a hint he's minded to continue protecting pensioner benefits such as bus passes and winter fuel allowances, and a view that Northern Ireland should be included in TV debates.

     
  84.  
    08:31: Not no, but not a yes either Nick Robinson Political editor

    Nick Robinson says David Cameron doesn't want to be seen to be saying "no" to the TV debates - but he's not exactly saying "yes" either.

     
  85.  
    08:30: Ed Milband on election BBC Breakfast

    The Labour leader says "Britain can do a lot better" and his party wants to put working people first. "This is a big election, and I'm going to fight for it," he says.

     
  86.  
    08:28: Cameron on TV debates BBC Radio 4 Today

    David Cameron says you can't include SNP and Plaid without having parties from Northern Ireland. He says that he initially was making the point that the Greens should take part, but the broadcasters have gone further. He says he had also had concerns about the debates taking place during the election campaign itself - he thinks they dominate the campaign too much.

     
  87.  
    08:26: Ed Miliband on NHS BBC Breakfast

    Explaining how Labour is going to fund an extra £2.5bn a year across the UK for the NHS, Mr Milband says the party has "very clear plans" to raise the cash - from mansion tax, clamping down on tax avoidance and a levy on tobacco firms' market share.

     
  88.  
    08:23: In quotes: Cameron on benefits cap BBC Radio 4 Today
    David Cameron
     
  89.  
    08:20: Miliband on the sofa BBC Breakfast
    Ed Miliband
     
  90.  
    08:19: Ed Miliband on TV debates BBC Breakfast

    "The PM is wriggling and wriggling to get out of these debates - let's make these debates happen," says Ed Miliband.

     
  91.  
    08:16: Ed Miliband on NHS BBC Breakfast

    The Labour leader is talking about the NHS again. He tells BBC Breakfast the "iron curtain" between health and social care isn't serving us well. "The NHS has got to start taking an interest in the social care system," he says.

     
  92.  
    08:16: David Cameron on benefits cap BBC Radio 4 Today

    David Cameron says that families subject to the existing benefits cap have been more likely to find work than people not hit by the cap. His party is "unashamedly pro-work and pro- people who work hard". The Conservatives are proposing to lower the cap from £26,000 to £23,000 a year and use the money saved to boost apprenticeships.

     
  93.  
    @bbcnickrobinson Nick Robinson, BBC political editor

    tweets: "There's horror and there's hope". @Ed_Miliband speaks movingly of his grandfather who died in a Nazi camp & those who were saved @bbc5live

     
  94.  
    @ChrisMasonBBC Chris Mason, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: The most arresting sequence of Ed Miliband's @bbc5live interview was about Labour leader's loss of his grandfather in the Holocaust

     
  95.  
    Ed Miliband on TV debates BBC Radio 5 live

    "He gives it the big one about leadership," says Ed Miliband. If so, why is he so scared of the TV debates, the Labour leader asks of David Cameron. Mr Miliband says he'll take part, even if there's an empty chair where the Conservative leader should be.

     
  96.  
    08:00: Ed Miliband on NHS BBC Radio 5 live

    He says the NHS is always going to be a priority for Labour and "staff and patients are crying out for a sense of a plan" for it - adding that his party has "the right policy and the right plan".

     
  97.  
    07:56: Ed Miliband on NHS BBC Radio 5 live

    Labour leader Ed Miliband there is a "big fight on for the future of the NHS" and that he wants to "rescue" it, not weaponise it.

     
  98.  
    07:53: Ed Miliband talking NHS BBC Radio 5 live
    Ed Miliband on 5live
     
  99.  
    07:47: Andy Burnham on NHS BBC Radio 4 Today

    The shadow health secretary says the country needs to "rethink" the way we care for older people, who are often "trapped" on hospital beds and subject to "flying 15-minute visits" by social care workers on home visits. "We need to support people with dementia and autism as well as those with cancer," he says.

     
  100.  
    07:39: Andy Burnham on NHS BBC Radio 4 Today

    Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, tells BBC's Radio 4's Today programme the Labour Party is planning to "re-set" the NHS in England as the "National Health and Social Care Service".

     

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