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Do you support child benefit changes?

09:13 UK time, Monday, 4 October 2010

Child benefit is to be axed for higher rate taxpayers from 2013, Chancellor George Osborne has announced. What is your reaction?

Parents earning over about £44,000 who pay 40% tax and above will be affected. Currently child benefit is paid to all families with children and it is estimated the change will affect about 15% - 1.2m - of families.

Mr Osborne said he expected the public to accept that it was not fair to tax someone earning £18,000 a year to pay child benefit to someone earning £50,000.

Are the changes to child benefit fair? Will you be affected? What would be the alternative?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Why wait until 2013? Why not now?

  • Comment number 2.

    George Osborne says these changes are fare and that we are "all in it together"
    So why dont the changes affect all families, or all higher rate tax payers or even all families on the same income.

    This change targets one particular group of people in a particular set of circumstances. It is not fare and does not promote the idea of "all in it together".

  • Comment number 3.

    A step in the right direction.

    It would be typical Labour lunacy to say that someone is so wealthy they can afford to pay taxes at higher rates and so poor they need benefits.

  • Comment number 4.

    A start. But these days £44,000 isn't that large a salary. I would have a sliding scale as the benefits decreased rather than a cut-off point - I think the cut-off is what is being brought in?

  • Comment number 5.

    Yes, it is right that they should cut out this payment.

    They also need to look at families that will keep the payment even though they have a joint income equal to or higher than the higher rate payer.

    Too be honest about it I would do away with child benefit and pay the poor by a different method.

    We are all in this together....

  • Comment number 6.

    Good to see that the foolish middle classes who voted in this Tory government (sorry Lib Dems but you are Tories now) are losing money because of it. In effect, as your political correspondent Nick Robinson says, this is a form of higher taxation for those affected. Same old Tories - higher taxes & higher unemployment!

  • Comment number 7.

    I don't have children, my choice, one of the many factors being that I couldn't afford them.

    Wow, if only I'd known what 'families' are entitled to! I am staggered at how much money people with children receive for the pleasure of their lifestyle choice. Having 3 children will bring in £2440 per year tax free... then there is the tax credits... and the rebates and everything else you can get. I always thought I was the sensible one. Obviously not. How foolish I have been having worked for the past 16 years without a break with the prospect of another 40 years to pay for all this!

  • Comment number 8.

    About time too!

  • Comment number 9.

    Let me see...

    Family 1. Two earners on £40,000 each, total income £80,000 still get child benefit.

    Family 2. One earner on £45,000 family doesn't get child benefit.

    Is that fair?

  • Comment number 10.

    I completely agree with Child Benefit being cut for higher-rate tax payers (of which I am one myself, by the way) BUT the way this is being applied does not seem to have been thought through.

    How can a couple where both earn £40K (so household income of £80k) still qualify for CB when a couple with one person earning £45K doesn't? The person earning £45K not only has to pay 40p tax on everything they earn over £44K but now loses £80 per month plus through CB changes.

    Surely this will be a major disincentive to families wanting one parent to stay at home to provide childcare in the formative years of a child's life?

    It should either be that all household income is means tested, or the threshold is raised from £44K to say, £75K, to prevent those on more modest single-earner incomes losing out.

  • Comment number 11.

    As I understand it a couple with two £40k incomes will still get the money but a single parent on £45k won't? That is hardly fair. It also is discouraging to earners who not only will get taxed at 40% for crossing some silly threshold but also now get taxed heavily again by losing their benefit. It is unquestionably socially damaging and one of the best examples yet of the Tories using the deficit argument to pursue ideological objectives.

    To take away this universal benefit is the worst blow yet to the caring Britain we once lived in. I am saddened.

  • Comment number 12.

    As far as I am concerned you should only have children if you can afford to have children. Therefore, if you chose to have children you should not be relying on the benefits system to keep them fed and clothed.

    If, once you have had children, your personal circumstances change through no fault of your own then (and only then) should we have a benefits system to fall back on until you get back on your feet.

    So yes, I do agree with the changes, and actually, I think they should go further.

  • Comment number 13.

    Crazy isnt it, a footballer or banker/etc on £100,000 per week gets child benefit.

    £44,000 is a reasonable income or joint income, you should not need or be reliant on such a benefit.

    The benefit sould be totally removed, even with these changes, those above £44,000 a year can still claim it but then it is paid back via tax, which again just adds unnecessary costs to the benefits system.
    There should be a complet cut off. Earn £44,000 a year, and there should just be no access to it whatsoever.

  • Comment number 14.

    @1, Yes do it now or at worst from April 2011.

  • Comment number 15.

    Leave it alone nothing wrong in child benefit

  • Comment number 16.

    whilst I have no objection to this benifit being scrapped for highrer earners. Im single so it has no effect on my imcome except my taxes are diverted through a different path. It seems Mr O has not really thougt it through. If a house hold has 1 high earner at say 44k they lose their benefit but a house hold of two earners just below the threshold with a combined income of 75-80K still get the benefit - how is that fair and equitable. If you are going to knock holes in the edifice of universal benefits, it has to be seen as fair to those that win and those that lose, this simpoly creates a sense of grievence from moderatley paid one earner families.

  • Comment number 17.

    Bit meaningless really, don't suppose it will save much as the percentage of people earning this wont be high i'd imagine.

    However, if this means he is goign to task with those on benefits, who seem, rather than get the minimum needed, get far too much so that the rest of us working seem poor (in money and time) then bring it on.

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm not a parent as yet, but this is something my wife and I are planning.

    How do I feel? Personally, I feel you can't be successful in this world without being knocked down. I work hard, build up my experience and skills in my career and when I finally get to the point where I want to have children I get told I am too successful for my own good so the government will offer me no assistance.

    I ask the government, will you decrease my tax payments in lieu of taking away any potential child benefits?

    If you want to save money, why not target those who don't care about working and quite happily knock kids out for the fun of it and live perfectly fantastic lives living on the tax contributions of all of the honest, hard working people of this country.

  • Comment number 19.

    "Child benefit is to be axed for higher rate taxpayers from 2013, Chancellor George Osborne has announced. What is your reaction?"

    cynicism! if the Chancellor wants to achieve savings why wait until 2013? I think that he hopes that by delaying the implementation of his 'reforms' the political fallout won't affect their chances in the general election in 2015 too much.

  • Comment number 20.

    Child benefit should be means tested, too.

  • Comment number 21.

    Can someone tell me why it will take until 2013 for Child Benefit to be scrapped for the high earners and what date has been set for those who can least afford to loose it.

    I find it strange or do I that the cuts will affect the low earners and those need help most. How's about they go after the huge amounts of unpaid tax due by high earners - is that going to be clawed back?

    The Tories will always start with the working class and leave the people with the money alone. No change there then despite Cameron's assurances.

  • Comment number 22.

    I posted this else where however it is most appropriate to this forum.

    I see the Robber Baron Osborne is proposing to strike again.

    The latest wheeze regarding child credit will mean that a Ward Sister in an NHS Hospital with 2 School age children(Hardly most peoples idea of a high earner) who sneaks into the 40% tax bracket by a few Pounds will lose the equivalent of 5% of their after tax income by this means at the same time as having pay frozen and NIC contributions increased. By 20013 this will leave this individual who is representative of hundreds of thousands in the public and private sector 15% WORSE OFF in real terms.

    For those captains of industry and indeed senior multi millionaire politicians like Messrs Cameron, Osbourne and Clegg this cut will result in a reduction of less than 0.25% one FOURTIETH of the impact on a hard working key worker.

    At the same time the Queen and other multimillionaire pensioners will still be entitled to claim their winter fuel allowance,free bus pass and free TV licence.

    Yet another example of the Condemned Government version of equality.

    Hopefully 5 Years will not be quite enough time for this shower of hypocrites to utterly ruin the country but they are obviously going to do their best. I suspect this particular move will be the shot in their own foot that does for them.

  • Comment number 23.

    Do you support Child Benefit changes?

    Another point.

    Those with children, actually receive much great welfare benefits entitlement, whether schools, NHS, etc, hence ultimately and fairly, those with children should pay MORE tax to cover extra costs.

    Its funny how so much fairness is based upon unfair discrimination, against single people or those without children, or whatever.

    Simple answer, if you cannot afford children, then like a Ferrari, go without.

    I know people on lower incomes who manage just fine with their children, yes some things can be expensive, but those parents, put their children first before themselves and any materialistic and social desires they have. Their children dont go round stealing or behaving obnoxiously and in most cases they all go on to be good adults in better paid jobs.

  • Comment number 24.

    Of all the proposals to cut the Country's deficit, this has got to be one of the most palatable and sensible. The payment of Child Benefit is there to help with Clothing, Food Etc. but quite clearly in some cases, it is just being used not on the child but to keep its parents in Fags and Booze etc or even in the case of welthier families, handed straight to the Child as some sort of 'Pocket Money' to spend on Luxuries. I wonder whether the Government should perhaps look to paying this allowance not in cash, but maybe in vouchers to make sure it is being spent for its intended purpose.

  • Comment number 25.

    Sounds a sensible venture. I've always thought it strange that if you pay a higher rate tax you are also eligible for benefits.
    The whole system needs reform. However, without plenty of jobs on offer I've no idea what we do with those who could work, but won't work !

  • Comment number 26.

    I agree with this reform it appears sensible.Only one question, why can 1 person lose benefit if they earn £45k p.a. but if 2 people earn £40k each then they keep child benefit?
    I feel sure when all the 'dust settles' the Chancellors team will be able to look into this.

  • Comment number 27.

    I think it should be entirely the other way around - those families who choose to have children (and it is a choice) when their income is so low that they fall below a certain threshold should be denied state aid.

    This would encourage people to think about whether they can afford children before they have them rather than breed first, let the state pay.

    We held off having children until both my wife and I were in stable jobs that paid enough to support them - it only took a couple of years and we (and our children) are far better off having done so.

  • Comment number 28.

    At 09:33am on 04 Oct 2010, AndyC555 wrote:
    A step in the right direction.
    It would be typical Labour lunacy to say that someone is so wealthy they can afford to pay taxes at higher rates and so poor they need benefits.

    Here in Finland, everyone with a family gets child allowance, and giving to the wealthy is not seen as a problem. If a small country like Finland can manage without difficulty, where is the problem in the UK? It's not a matter of being poor, or lunatic, but rather of ensuring that children are cared for. Children, after all, are brought up by us all, not just the parents. Yes, I'm sure there are people who abuse the system here as well, but that price is accepted in the interests of fairness. It's not actually a sin to be wealthy, any more than it is to be poor..

  • Comment number 29.

    Absolutely right. This ridiculous benefit has meant the poor subsidising the rich to have kids for way too long. But why does it take so long to implement the change?

  • Comment number 30.


  • Comment number 31.

    ruffled wrote:
    You sell your assets when in dire financial states and when they will achieve the most money - gold was sold at its lowest level for no clear reason. The price for gold is now high - when we could do with being in a position to sell.

    Not always. You sell assets when you think you can get a better return somewhere else (which may be liquidating them to pay off debts). In 2000 gold prices had been languishing for almost two decades (they are still only slightly more than in 1980 without taking inflation into account). At the time the government saw buying Euros, Yen and Dollars as providing a better return than gold. They also wished to reduce taxes (in the same way Thatcher sold off state industries to reduce taxes). The reason you can say that was a bad decision is due to that most exact but useless of investment advisors: hindsight.

    In 1999/2000 when the dot com boom was underway and prior to 9/11, what reason was there to believe that gold would now be trading at $1300 an ounce? If you thought they were wrong at the time, did you buy up lots of it and are now independently wealthy? If you did, good luck to you; if you didn't you have no right to criticise for not being able to predict the future.

  • Comment number 32.

    Don't wait. Start this April.
    As we are hurrying down the road to over population, how about stopping all child benifit after the third child. We appear to have another Government who are wobbling down the road of indecision and not standing up for the majority.

  • Comment number 33.

    From what I have heard discussed on various news channels, it is being assumed that by 2013, the earnings level you start to pay 40% tax from will have risen to this level. Considering the difference is around 6.5k more than it starts at now, that means that if you are earning that much your tax saving will be around £975.00 (15% of the 6.5K). Child benefit for one child is £80.00 every 4 weeks so you get £1040.00, so you will actually be losing only £65.00 pa.
    Obviously anyone with more than one child will lose out, but at that level of earnings, it should not be too big a hit. It is also being suggested that the 50% tax limit will be raised a little (no figs were suggested only that it could be) which would lessen the impact even more. So in reality it is only families with more than one child that will feel the pinch, but it is not that they could no afford it anyway.
    It dose not however, address the problem that it is normally the less well off that have bigger families. It will be interesting to see what will be done regarding that.
    This should so far be seen as a positive move because it does show that the better off will be paying their part in the national debt and it is not just the less well of bearing the cost.

  • Comment number 34.

    Trust Osborne to do something right for a change. But then ooops, only do half the job.

  • Comment number 35.

    Some mindbending logic (or lack thereof) here if I've understood the proposal correctly.

    The Deputy Head of the school I work at earns £42K pa. Her husband is a Department Head and gets about £35K. That's a combined family income of £77K. They have 3 kids, which means they get over £2K pa in Child Benefit (? don't know the exact figs as my kids are long grown up).

    The Head Teacher of the another school in the city gets paid about £52K pa, he has 3 kids but his wife doesn't work, so he not only has to pay a higher rate of tax than my Deputy Head and her husband, but will not be getting Child Benefit either.

    Like I said - amazing bit of logic.

    I don't have a problem with high earners being deprived of universal benefits - but shouldn't it be based on household income?

  • Comment number 36.

    I agree with the idea
    Why wait til 2013?
    Just make it simple, over £50000 total household income

  • Comment number 37.

    I think the measures should have gone further.

    The idea of child benefit is to help those who find it difficult to finance the cost of having a child. The benefit should have always been means tested. Previous governments ignored the issue through fear of losing votes.

    I think the benefit should (in these days of over-population) be payable ONLY in respect of the first child (or the second child if the first one dies).

  • Comment number 38.

    The changes are as expected but using the restriction (for administrative simplification) to anyone on the higher rate tax has the perverse effect that a family with a single earner of £44K or above will not get child benefit but if there are two earners of upto £43K each they will still get it (they each get £7.5K personal allowance too so pay less tax each as well). So, some families with income of £44K won't get it but other families can earn upto £86K a year and still get it. How is that fair?

    Fortunately for my family our last child is 18 before 2012 so this won't affect us anyway, but the message is clear under this government as well as the last is that they would prefer both parents in a family to work and they want to discriminate against single earning families.

    This was similar to when the child tax credit was first introduced: anyone on the higher rate tax didn't get it but a dual income family on just below that threshold each could get it. When (again for simplification reasons) the threhold was essentially doubled then you have the situation that families on pretty high incomes get state benefits which is daft.

  • Comment number 39.

    I agree 100% with this policy.There can be few sights quite as nauseating as seeing people earning high salaries jumping up and down with rage because their child benefit is to be cut.Benefits and tax relief should be targeted on people that need them,not the undeserving rich.

  • Comment number 40.

    "Family 1. Two earners on £40,000 each, total income £80,000 still get child benefit.

    Family 2. One earner on £45,000 family doesn't get child benefit.

    Is that fair?"

    I think it is. Family 1 incurs high childcare costs as both parents work, family 2 incurs a lot less expense from their children as one parent stays at home.

  • Comment number 41.

    Again why wait! I was never in the high earner category when my children were in that age category and my wife simply used it as her "mad money"! When I used to raise the absurdity of such a benefit with family and friends I was repeatedly reminded that in England we don't means test. Again another absurdity which hopefully is being done away with. Means testing that is simple and see as fair is the only way to economically deliver the care and support to people that actually need it.

  • Comment number 42.

    As a parent in receipt of child benefit I agree with the changes proposed. I have said for a long time that people on higher incomes do not need child benefit [and probably don't notice it]. I do feel however that the level should be set higher. Also the first child gets more than the rest so why can it not be a sliding scale for each child down to a certain level?

    However I do not agree with cutting it altogether at 16. Some 16 year olds are still in school [year 11] and do not qualify for EMA so what are the parents to do in that year, especially those like myself who use the benefit for necessities such as school shoes and coats?

    And before anyone starts wingeing on about not being able to afford children, they are the next generation and will be looking after you in your old age and paying taxes to support your pension [even if you have a private one.]

  • Comment number 43.

    I suspect this is only the first step in scrapping Child Benefit altogether, followed by Winter Fuel allowances, tax concessions, personal allowances, state pensions, housing support, etc, etc.

  • Comment number 44.

    "9. At 09:40am on 04 Oct 2010, Know-Dice wrote:
    Let me see...

    Family 1. Two earners on £40,000 each, total income £80,000 still get child benefit.

    Family 2. One earner on £45,000 family doesn't get child benefit.

    Is that fair?"

    Jeez. Comes to something when critics of the Government are defending higher rate taxpayers!

    But no, it's not fair. But I'd stop child benefits for both groups so at least Osborne has got it half right.

    People seem to think the Government has a pot of its own money and is choosing to stop handing it out. No it hasn't, it is OUR money. The Government is choosing to either take less from us or is choosing to spend it on better things than giving it to comfortably off middleclass families who probably use it for the weekly wine budget.

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    1. At 09:29am on 04 Oct 2010, AndyC555 wrote:
    "Why wait until 2013? Why not now?"

    Simply because there's a shed load of legislation which has to be changed first.

    But I approve.... It's about time.

  • Comment number 47.

    I support cutting child benefit but this seems perverse.

    In a family where two parents earn £35k each = £70k, they will continue to receive child benefit.
    In a family where only one parent works but earns £50k, they will lose their child benefit.

    Seems a bit odd to me....but maybe I'm missing something.

  • Comment number 48.

    Although we didn't 'need' it I claimed CB and looked on it as a way of recouping a tiny bit of all the tax we paid. CB for a month just about covered child care costs for a week and all child care costs came out of my pocket, no help towards it in those days! If claiming CB had meant more tax being taken off I wouldn't have bothered. I was also amazed when I continued to receive CB for both children until they were 18 or 19 as I thought it stopped at 16.

    However, this does nothing about all the families who don't work or pay taxes and continue to produce children for whom they have no means of support. We could only afford two even if we wanted more. To those who say this is a myth, non-working, mostly partnerless and entirely state funded parents were my largest client group at work.

  • Comment number 49.

    In the run-up to the election the Tories were at pains to assure voters that they had no plans to scrap the universal Child Benefit although they were clear that they would need to alter the threshholds at which Child Tax Credits/Working Family Tax Credits were paid. I see today's announcement as a straight forward betrayal of a campaign promise and for this reason I can assure the conservative party that they have now lost one vote. Sadly I won't have the opportunity to demonstrate that for 5 years.

    To be clear there is a measure of self-interest here. I can't believe that my household might be deprived of an income becasue I myself earn slightly over the higher rate tax threshhold whereas a household with an annual income of £35,000 more than ours will still be able to claim because there are two earners and neither one is a higher rate tax payer. Where is Vince Cable and all his talk of "fairness" now?

    So a family supported by a total income of £45k p.a. where one partner works and the ofther cares for the children, cannot possibly need help with their finances. A family with an income of £85k p.a. however might well need the extra help? It just does not make sense.

    I would be more than happy to swap the child benefit in return for the ability to offset my wifes unused personal allowance against my income. That would be fair.

  • Comment number 50.

    Why wait until 2013? It should start ASAP and should be applied to a couples joint income, not just the income of one earner.

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    A very good start. Next step should be to clamp down on those who activey avoid/evade paying tax in this country, yet are wholly domiciled here. Tax havens should be shut down.

  • Comment number 53.

    By all means stop child benefit for the rich but

    EG a woman who stays at home to take care of her own children and look after ill elderly parents and doesn't claim benfits will be punished, If the husband is earning £45000 then they will lose child benefit. A couple earning jointly £80000 WILL receive child benefit!!!!!Fair?

    Tory solution send the wife back to work and let the state pay for elderly care and child care which will cost the govt more AND the wife is then taking a job where there are some families that do not even have one parent working and are desperate for work!! STUPID STUPID

  • Comment number 54.

    I do see why they are doing this but I think that it is done wrongly. If a mother is on her own with children as her husband has left her and she earns £45K a year, why should she not get it when a family with two parents on the lower tax rate but earning £35K a year each which is £70k between them still get it. I think that is where it is unfair. I think that it should just be scrapped and those families who are struggling should get some kind of help, but the population has to remember that having children is a choice and by making that choice you are forcing hard working people who pay tax to fund them? It is a good idea, and it probably is fair, but I do not know yet whether it is fair or not. But for high earners I fail to see how a small amount of money really affects them to that extent but it does save the country a lot of money. Personally I would have scrapped it altogether. It was a universal benefit so really it should be universally scrapped. I did agree with the higher rate of VAT as that does not affect the poor at all. People say that it does but anyone who knows anything knows that poor people only buy essentials such as gas and electricity which is at about 5% vat and food which is 0% vat and children's clothes also at 0% vat and if everyday essentials there is barely a difference in price. It really is only noticeable when you buy expensive items such as cars etc. where you are spending thousands of pounds.

  • Comment number 55.

    I am a pensioner now so does not affect me, but the cut off point seems a little low. What I would like to see is child credits for a maximum of two children only. We have the so called 'deprived' who just will not work breeding like rabbits and claiming far more than the £44,000 [not counting housing benefit, free dental treatment etc] that is to be the cut off point, so these so called 'poor and vulnerable' will still be laughing their heads off. If we are 'all in together' this should be the starting point, not taxing people who do go out to work.

  • Comment number 56.

    Both parents earning beyond £80,000 between them (40K+ each) don't lose their child benefits, but one parent earning £45,000 to support a FULL TIME PARTNER PARENT and their children does ? Another crazy example of rather stupid governments who simply do not think things through. This is an attack on families, who think it best (and are fortunate enough) to have one partner parenting full time. This is a difficult job in itself, but I think children benefit greatly when this is possible. In a fair society, the working partner (paying tax at any level) who is wholly supporting another full time parent should be able to clain the tax allowance of that parent.
    "Mr Osborne said he expected the public to accept that it was not fair to tax someone earning £18,000 a year to pay child benefit to someone earning £50,000."
    Well Mr Osborne is wrong, and very misguided. I am sure that someone earning £50,000 per year, pays enough tax AND "national insurance" (another con) THEMSELVES to cover THIER OWN family's meagre child benefit. When one person is WHOLLY supporting TWO OR MORE people , is it really right and fair that they are still expected to pay the same amount of tax as a single person or couple with no such responsibilities ? Is it right that they lose the only extra support they get for their children ? Personally I don't think so. £44,000 isn't that much these days. Especially when one parent isn't earning, in a family with two or three children. Remember too the higher rate tax allowances haven't gone up much in recent years either as our governments rob us more and more.
    Soon there will be no allowances to anyone. The government have gradually eroded ALL tax reliefs for everyone, including the basic allowances for very high earners. What comes next ? Owing the government tax before one earns anything ? IE negative tax allowances ? Taxing children's pocket money ?
    Rip off Britain strikes again.

  • Comment number 57.

    I have never seen so many twisted, and probably jealous, "I am childless so why should I pay for other people's children" on HYS. If you choose to be childless then fair enough but where do all the firefighters, nurses, policemen, doctors and other essential workers come from to "serve" them in their lonely, twisted and bitter dottage?

    Presumably they also don't want to pay for education, pre and post natal and infant immunisation programs.

    I tend to agree that high earners, I was one of them, don't need CB but 44K is not a lot of money and the idea that it is based on the top earner and not household income is stupid and unfair.

    What we are talking about here is hard working family men and women that are having benefits removed because the earn slightly higher than others. It is the breeders of children that never work a day in their lives that should be hit not workers.

  • Comment number 58.

    Lee Brown, these people are not rich they just earn a good wage. They are not undeserving because their higher taxes in the first place are what funds this country the most. I think the undeserving are the ones who never want a job and have never worked under a labour government because they think it is easier by having children and getting £200 plus a week per child and get an individual house with a garden and get everything for free. They are undeserving. The rich pay the most tax and so really are not undeserving. Just like those who are not rich but work really hard all their lives. They are not undeserving either. The rich are actually those who have wealth, not those earning £40K plus a year.

  • Comment number 59.

    It should include joint incomes totalling in excess of £44k, too irrespective of tax. Below that child benefit should be means tested.

  • Comment number 60.

    A step in the right direction, now we need to gradually reduce these payments to only the first child. This will help reduce the population expansion in Britain and make a start towards stabilising and reducing overpopulation which is the largest problem in the world and needs to be recognised as such.

  • Comment number 61.

    The middle classes are soaking us for billions, all their benefits need to be means tested.

    People on 10k a year should never ever be subsidising people on 30k a year, it's perverse...the system has lost its way.

    Child benefit, child and working tax credits, state retirement pension, winter fuel allowance, statutory maternity pay.

    They should ALL be means tested.

    The welfare system was invented for the "abolition of want", for those people with nothing who had fallen on hard times, not for bribing middle class voters.

  • Comment number 62.

    I don't know how many people heard the Today programme interview with Mr Osbourne. It confirmed an ill thought out poorly conceived policy, which has clearly been rushed through as a headline grabber at the party conference to cover many of the other policies in a similar vein.
    Also, slightly off the point, what of the blatant u-turn by our beloved prime minister on how the cuts aren't going to be half as bad as we thought?
    It is high time this crude political manoeuvring (by all parties) was pointed up by so called political reporters. New government tells us it's all terrible. Three months later, in the blink of an eye, by superb policies they perform a Batman-like escape. It's many years since I read Macchiavelli but I bet it's down there in his stuff.
    This isn't a political point because they have all done it at some point, but isn't it getting very very boring now?

  • Comment number 63.

    This should have been acted upon years ago instead of throwing state benefits at people.All benefits must be means tested,and given to people that really need it.Perhaps the next course of action will be the £250 heating allowance again payed without being means tested,and given to some of the wealthist people in the country.

  • Comment number 64.

    It is unfair that the cut off point is not per house hold but applied to the individual. My husband earns just over £44k pa but a couple next door may earn £43k each totalling £86k but still receive child benefit.
    Anyway, the reality of my husbands take home pay means that I work part time (we work 7 days a week) to pay our way, we dont have enough money for extras and I rely on that money to buy clothes, shoes and at times food for my children.
    It is very easy for the ignorant to describe us as High earners but the reality is very different.

  • Comment number 65.

    The claiming of child benefit by people earning those kinds of sums of money is just wrong.
    Another example of pure greed, claiming money just because they 'can'. Whether they need it or not.

  • Comment number 66.

    I don't support waiting until 2013. We elected them to get the hell on with it.

  • Comment number 67.

    "9. At 09:40am on 04 Oct 2010, Know-Dice wrote:

    Let me see...

    Family 1. Two earners on £40,000 each, total income £80,000 still get child benefit.

    Family 2. One earner on £45,000 family doesn't get child benefit.

    Is that fair?"

    Yes you are right, it isn't fair. However, it would be very expansive to organise a means tested system at the moment, espeically as you would then have to police it to make sure no-one cheated.

    After a few years, and when the single benefit payment comes in, you might find the balance being re-dressed then.

  • Comment number 68.

    ruffled_feathers wrote: But these days £44,000 isn't that large a salary.

    What planet are you on Ruffled. I earn just under 17k and so does my partner in what i regard as a reasonable, non professional job which combined doesnt even equal 44k. If you cant live on 44k a year you should look at yourself and lifestyle. Its nonsense to suggest these people should get child benefit. I would cut it down to less than than.

  • Comment number 69.

    I support this change to child benefit - rich people don't need it.

    However, "Ozzy" Osbourne's claim that "we are all in this together" rings very hollow. The only people profiting from this crazy coalition's economic "policies" are the bankers.

  • Comment number 70.

    Great idea. Go for it George. I get benefit for two children at present. My husband earns less than the threshold and I earn even less than him but I don't think we should get the benefit. Of course, it is nice to have, but I can't honestly put my hand on my heart and say I need it.My children wouldn't be hungry or shoeless without it. Cuts need to happen.

  • Comment number 71.

    This isn't a matter of fairness. It's a numbers game. The bottom line is the most important thing. It would cost too much to means test everybody.

    You can't have your cake and eat it as well. You cant complain about "bureaucracy" and then kick up a fuss when a government implements the most cost effect away of implementing a new policy.

    As soon as you start realising this is nothing fair about this government the better. You voted them in middle england; enjoy the ride.

  • Comment number 72.

    I'd support this if it was combined with transferable personal allowances, in which a working person could utilise the unused part of a non-working partner's tax allowance.

  • Comment number 73.

    Yes, as long as this will be the first in a series of effective moves to take benefits away from people who don't NEED AND DESERVE them, and save the country a fortune. We are spending far too much money on people who don't deserve any sort of support at all.

  • Comment number 74.

    The gov't has to make cuts. Cuts will impact someone. Please, please don't tell me that someone on higher rate tax can't take the impact. It's just patronising. People who earn significantly less than those on higher rate tax are having to accept cuts too, and they have less scope for dealing with those cuts! We're all in this together - and never forget the need for cuts is down to Labour! Again!

    Also, I don't mean to be funny, but child benefit is a part of the welfare system? No? Seriously, hand on heart, do those who end up in the higher tax bracket consider they need to be subsidised by the Welfare State? Seriously? Come off it. The welfare state should be there to help the needy, not just hand out tax payers money as a nice subsidy or gift!

  • Comment number 75.

    If a couple can afford a stay at home parent they're presumably saving on childcare costs which a 2-working parent family will be paying out for.

    If you're starting a family you have to be responsible and consider whether you can afford to, and not rely on government benefits / credits which may or may not exist in the future.

  • Comment number 76.

    I think it is a step in the right direction,
    There are those that claim that £37000(40% tax rate begins at £37000 not £44000) is not a lot these days, compared to what exactly, £140'000 claimed by MP's as expenses every single year by almost every single member of parliament, no it is not a lot compared to that. compared to every single vacancy in the town i currently live in it would be 3x the average and double the best paid.
    All benefits should be means tested and so should entitlements.
    If you can not manage as a family to live on £37000 a year then you are living beyond your means simples!!.
    I have never earned more than £20k a year ever.!!!

  • Comment number 77.

    23. At 09:51am on 04 Oct 2010, MrWonderfulReality wrote:
    "Simple answer, if you cannot afford children, then like a Ferrari, go without."

    I don't think you appreciate how expensive it is to run a Ferrari. The cost of even routine servicing is ridiculous, let alone if something goes wrong. The engine needs to come out and be re-built at least once a year. It's never-ending. If they stop child benefits then I will probably have to sell it.

  • Comment number 78.

    40. At 10:03am on 04 Oct 2010, Catriona wrote:
    "Family 1. Two earners on £40,000 each, total income £80,000 still get child benefit.

    Family 2. One earner on £45,000 family doesn't get child benefit.

    Is that fair?"

    I think it is. Family 1 incurs high childcare costs as both parents work, family 2 incurs a lot less expense from their children as one parent stays at home.

    So what? That's their choice (the single earner family gets no state help so why should dual income families).

    The couple each earning £40K each take home between them about £60K after tax and NI. The single earner on £45K takes home about £32K, so the dual income family have TWICE the net income of that single earner who gets no child benefit. They can fund their childcare costs from that extra £28K without requiring any help from the taxpayer.

  • Comment number 79.

    Long overdue and should apply to couples as well - if you can't feed don't breed - simples !!!

  • Comment number 80.

    i think in someway they are doing the right thing as long as they dont get families more into debt by not giving child benefit to families that need it.
    I also feel they should help families like me i am a mum of four with only husbands income i want to go to work but with four children in education its hard to get a term time job and feel the government should make companies provide TERM TIME CONTRACTS for mums/dads who want to work when all children are in full time education and are unable to pay child care during holidays

  • Comment number 81.


    Those who earn ENOUGH to support their family, should not receive 'Child-benefit' - that's just Greed - not much better than the 'Bankers' really.
    But this benefit should also be limited to a maximum of THREE Children - and it should end at School-leaving age.
    We especially cannot afford unemployed, single-parents to continue to have more and more Children that will have to be 'housed' and TOTALLY supported via benefits.
    I hope the LIBDEMS reconsider this TOO - although I doubt it - TOO PC...

    There is NO other effective way of returning our Benefit-farce to reality.

  • Comment number 82.

    If two partners earn 43k each=86k. They can Claim child benefit but not a single earner earning 44k.I don't think Tories are fair,And they don't like home-makers.come on George at least try to be fair.

  • Comment number 83.

    Given the state of the economy I can understand that those with more pay more, HOWEVER, how a household with a single income of £44k can lose this whilst 2 people with a joint income of £80k can keep it beggars belief. Surely if those with more are to pay more, then this should be universal and not just targeted at those with one income!

  • Comment number 84.

    I'd have liked to have seen child benefit restricted, for new babies only, to the first 2 children only.

    If couples choose to have larger families they should be certain that they alone can support them.

  • Comment number 85.

    "Do you support Child Benefit changes"?

    You have to look at the history of this Benefit, and it's original purpose after WWII Britain and that it is paid directly to the mother, or main carer.

    Interestingly, the Chancellor is less interested in cutting costs on Child Benefit, but setting a legal precedent on this one, by forming a means-test on this universal benefit of around £20.50pw per child. Think about it?

    I would hope that he would also ensure that Child Benefit will also not go children and mothers who have never lived here; but had their babies here and permanently live abroad too, whose fathers living here access other benefits fraudulently on the back of that 'benefit gateway'?

  • Comment number 86.

    I agree with some of the other posters, why do we give money to people who have children. The majority of these people it seems let their children run riot and do not care how they talk or treat other children and adults. It might make people think twice about how they bring their children up and make them responsible parents. For these parents who say they cannot afford children without the help is simple don't have them or cut down on your luxuries of £20 a week. Leave out the sweets and chocolate cakes as much etc. After all the parents on the lower brackets are still going to get the help so what is the problem?

  • Comment number 87.

    Great news! I'd actually like to see the child benefit scrapped altogether and the money just put directly into free school meals, books, subsidised equipment and uniforms for those on lesser incomes.

  • Comment number 88.

    While broadly supportive of revising theh Universality of Child Benefit the measure as proposed fails the fairness test. It cannot be right that a single earner on higher tax looses the household benefit before those on higher total household income. This is clearly simple but unfair.

    Meanwhile there are broader issues that have not been addressed such as:

    + Ending child benefit after the 3rd child- so placing a ceiling on benefit
    + Ending child benefit after theh child reaches 16 - they can get a Saturday job then

    Something has to be done for the benefit that is true but above all it must be fair. Sadly this measure fails that test. It also fails the speed test something needs to be done now not 2013.

  • Comment number 89.

    For a society (and government) that endorses the significance of the 'family' so much, this seems like a counter-intuitive move and also a poorly-thought out plan. The fact that a single-parent on £44,500 (thus such a household income) will lose the child benefit while two parents earning a combined income of just under £88,000 will continue to receive it is completely irrational. Osbourne's argument that this is the only way to avoid a 'complex', means-tested system is unacceptable: it is his JOB to set up systems that are fair rather than going for the simple knee-jerk reaction to make some cuts. However, there is a good chance that this decision has actually been made with deeper ideological intentions (the ethics of which I would question): this strategy aims to give extra incentive for people to avoid being single parents (at all costs) and live together - in marriage, preferrably - in order to continue receiving child state support amongst other benefits. As idealistic as this might be, it is simply not possible for many families going through disintegration and enough distress as it is without having the benefit rug swept from under their feet.

  • Comment number 90.

    Doesn't sound an unreasonable measure to help the country's finances.
    I would like to broaden the question somewhat: Why pay Child Benefit at all? Surely, if you announce that there will be no benefit paid to children born from 1st. from April 2013, you will have given people sufficient notice? I am proposing this because our planet is overpopulated, this island in particular, and we will never sucessfully address this issue, while we reward people to have more children.
    I may have missed something, so, as my school teachers would have said,

  • Comment number 91.

    On the point of "means testing": Osbourne has made the right decision, in my opinion. The question is not one of whether people can fill out a simple form so that total household income (i.e. 2 parents vs 1) can be assessed or not. No, the question is what is the puprose of this exercise - it is to save money for the country!

    Little point then in creating more work (i.e. requiring more civil servants, more copmuters, a new computer system etc) by assessing the forms and "means testing" each house. I can well imagine that the £1 billion expected savings would then largely be swallowed up by yet another ineffecient gov't dep't and new computer system . THAT, my friends, is Labour's way of doing things! No, much better, at this difficult time to go with a simpler method that allows the vast majority of the savings to be used to pay off our national debt - accrued under Labour's watch. Again!

  • Comment number 92.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 93.

    61. At 10:21am on 04 Oct 2010, ady wrote:
    The middle classes are soaking us for billions, all their benefits need to be means tested.

    People on 10k a year should never ever be subsidising people on 30k a year, it's perverse...the system has lost its way.

    Child benefit, child and working tax credits, state retirement pension, winter fuel allowance, statutory maternity pay.

    They should ALL be means tested.

    The welfare system was invented for the "abolition of want", for those people with nothing who had fallen on hard times, not for bribing middle class voters.

    Hear hear!

  • Comment number 94.

    Scrap it completely - and do it now.

    If you can't afford to have children, don't have them.

  • Comment number 95.

    So, where parents are separated and the person caring for the child is not working, they could lose their child benefit if their partner is earning over £44000. Cool. Well done Georgie Boy.

  • Comment number 96.

    57. At 10:20am on 04 Oct 2010, Graham wrote:
    I have never seen so many twisted, and probably jealous, "I am childless so why should I pay for other people's children" on HYS. If you choose to be childless then fair enough but where do all the firefighters, nurses, policemen, doctors and other essential workers come from to "serve" them in their lonely, twisted and bitter dottage?

    Presumably they also don't want to pay for education, pre and post natal and infant immunisation programs.

    I agree. These people also ignore the fact that their parents were in receipt of child benefit (or family allowance before 1977) and they also received (or were entitled to receive) state education, NHS care as children etc. Contributing to society's need to bring to adulthood coming generations of workers who are well educated and healthy is merely doing what was done for them. As you say, those who will be providing essential sevices, paying taxes and paying their pension when they can no longer contribute to society anymore but will be dependent upon it again, are the children of other people.

    And before these dinkies and sinkies come back saying they are funding their own pensions, tahnk you very much, they clearly don't realise that the value of their pension when they need it id dependent on economic growth at the time they cash it in, not when they build up the fund. This is the reason pension funds are trashing right now due to long term (lack of) confidence on returns.

  • Comment number 97.

    The last couple of years I have worked as much overtime as possible to enable me to keep a roof over my wife and children's heads. The last 2 years I have earned £45,000. I AM STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE. My wife stays at home looking after our children, isn't this what MP's keep saying they want us to do.
    We waited to have our 4 children until such time as we could afford them. Then we get hit with higher taxes, VAT, fuel costs, food and now I am even forced to pay tax on my 10 year olds clothes because she is too tall (definitely not FAT.) This announcement will cripple us. Neither my wife or myself have ever been on the dole or claimed any other benefits. We both had mortgages by the time we were 19. I feel like quiting my job and doing what the rest of the scroungers do in this country. Just let me keep all my wages and I will look after my family and not expect any further help.

  • Comment number 98.

    I don't earn over £44,000, but might well do by 2013. I work non-stop, working a full time job and running my own business with my Wife in my spare time. I live in a very average house in a fairly poor area and need every penny I earn just to get by. I will definitely miss the £80 per month child benefit come 2013.

    A much better solution would be to cap the number of children that the benefit pays out for, perhaps at 2. This would put an end to the people that seem to exist solely on benefits and churn out children at a rate of around 1 per year, and whom are likely to grow up to abuse the system in exactly the same way.

  • Comment number 99.

    Child benefit is to be axed for higher rate taxpayers from 2013, Chancellor George Osborne has announced. What is your reaction?"

    This is a great we're all in it together sounbite for now but by 2013 we will probably have forgotten.

    One thing I say to those who say we shouldn't pay for people to have children my would be yes pay upto a number of 2. BUT children are our future, if we look rationally we can never afford them. Do I feel that I could trust that in my old age the state will be able to provide care for me- probably not the way things are going, or that my children will be around to help me. I would also to those chosing not to have kids who will be the nurses, doctors, care workers and tax payers of the future -the children of today. Child benefit should be seen as an investment .

  • Comment number 100.

    76. At 10:27am on 04 Oct 2010, th3_0r4cl3 wrote:
    I think it is a step in the right direction,
    There are those that claim that £37000(40% tax rate begins at £37000 not £44000) is ...

    You are forgetting the personal allowance of about £7K. The 40% tax rate comes in at the personal allowance plus £37K, so around £44K.


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