'Unbalanced' Isle of Man child benefit payments to end

The Department of Social Care will introduce means testing in 2014

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Child benefit in the Isle of Man could be axed for higher earners from 2014, the Chief Minister has announced.

In a speech in Tynwald, Allan Bell said the present system of universal benefits was no longer sustainable for the Manx government.

He said: "It's unfair and unbalanced when millionaires can get the same level of benefits as people who are on a basic wage."

From 2014, the Department of Social Care will introduce means testing.

Isle of Man parents currently receive £20.40 a week for their first child and £13.50 a week for second and subsequent children.

'Real help'

One mother told BBC Isle of Man: "It's a real help, I rely on the money to bring up my children, I think it it's fairer if it stays universal."

Director of Social Security Yvette Mellor said it would be a fair process.

She said: "At the moment everybody gets it, irrespective of whether they need it or not."

"We need to target people who need it rather than people that don't necessarily, and could afford to look after their children on their own."

It was announced in the 2012 budget that the Isle of Man's benefits system would undergo a "full review" as part of measures to rebalance the budget.

Mr Bell said he wanted to encourage self-reliance.

A government spokesperson said it was "too early"' to say how a revised benefit system would be implemented.

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