BBC BLOGS - Nick Robinson's Newslog
« Previous | Main | Next »

Cameron on child benefit difficulties

Nick Robinson | 17:03 UK time, Tuesday, 5 October 2010

I've just been talking to the prime minister about the chancellor's pledge to cut child benefit for higher rate taxpayers.

He concedes that it is "very difficult to do this in a way which is fair" but insists that taxing child benefit or introducing a formal means test would be more costly and less fair.

He accepts that he has had to eat his own words.

He repeats his desire to introduce a tax break for married couples in this Parliament and signals that it could be expanded to cover higher rate taxpayers - a change from Tory pre-election plans.

What he doesn't say, but what is absolutely clear, is that David Cameron thinks that well-paid people - not least in the media - are making a lot of fuss about losing £20 or £40 or, sometimes, £60 per week from earnings of £900 a week when the benefit cap George Osborne also announced will cost tens of thousands of claimants, who get less, a great deal more.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Clearly it isn't fair for people on low incomes without children to subsidise rich parents. The days of a universal child benefit are obviously over.

    But the Tories have got it totally wrong on allowances for married couples to 'compensate' them for the loss of child benefits.

    Why should people who are single subsidise those who are married?

    Benefits should be according to need - not marital status. This is social engineering and more of the nanny state.

  • Comment number 2.

    'What he doesn't say, but what is absolutely clear, is that David Cameron thinks that well-paid people - not least in the media - are making a lot of fuss about losing £20 or £40 or, sometimes, £60 per week from earnings of £900 a week'

    I think very few people have been complaining about this in principle. It is the incompetence of how it is being calculated and the anomolies it creats that is receiving most comment.

    It doesn't give confidence in how the government is going to carry out the further cuts. The government needs to carry as many people as it can with it. It needs to look bothered about how it works out the detail.

  • Comment number 3.

    This whole thing is the policy on the hoof and is a shambles. They have made a mistake on the announcement and not thought it through. Cameron has responded to a media outburst and come up with a policy that penalises people who are not married. To give money to people who have kids makes sense but why give anyone tax allowances who are married does not. It is a nonsense completely and this will cost more than just giving everyone child allowance

  • Comment number 4.

    "He accepts that he has had to eat his own words."

    A good thing about this govt is their ability to admit when mistakes have been made, something which the previous govt were afraid to do.

    I wonder what the corridors of power will be like next week when the Lib Dems and Tories reunite after their brief flings with the party faithful.

  • Comment number 5.

    'What he doesn't say, but what is absolutely clear, is that David Cameron thinks that well-paid people - not least in the media - are making a lot of fuss about losing £20 or £'

    Well paid people in the media are paid to report the facts NOT run a personal media campaign to keep a few bob in their pocket or the pocket of chums or family. This is particularly true at the BBC or else the much trumpeted claim of impartiality made recently on the Editors blog by the said Editor is meaningless.

    Perhaps an Editors job is to ensure that reporting is proportionate and reasonable.

    Quite frankly if every cut is going to covered like this how long is the carnival going to be. Let them eat cup cakes with their latte I say.

  • Comment number 6.

    So we are all in this together, but married couples without kids are better off than people with kids and singles are in it even more!!! Why are they being punished more. People without kids cost the state less than anyone else in the first place!

  • Comment number 7.

    You have to remember David Cameron is a multi-millionaire. His net worth is (say) 25 times the ordinary person. So to him £1000 a year is like £40 a year to an ordinary person, hence he can't see the fuss.

  • Comment number 8.

    A shambles...

    It's great to laugh at the Tories

  • Comment number 9.

    I suppose Ed M, like the rest of us,can just sit back, put his feet up and watch the show...

  • Comment number 10.

    The PM needs to understand that people are not making a fuss about losing £20 a week, it is the fact that it is to be introduced in such a blatently unfair way.

    I have no time for the excuse that it will be too complex to administer a system based upon joint income. All it needs is the claiment to provide the UTR of their partner and the information on gross salary is already available. If it is not based upon joint income it is unfair.

    The whole policy (if a half baked idea can be classed as such) was only designed to provide cover for the sensible limits on benefits to be announced the same day. It was designed to say to the world that the Conservatives will hit their core support as well as those who would never vote for them. It failed, just like when Osbourne chose to dine with Mandleson and then eat and tell it shows he has very poor judgement - not a good trait for the man charged with pulling us out of the financial mess we are in.

  • Comment number 11.

    Lets talk about fair its about time this happen'ed only thing is its to the wrong people, we should not pay benifits to imigrents who's children don't live in our country thats what is unfair. and dole wallers who have 15 kids to 14 diffrent women who are also on the dole,we the tax's payer will proberly have to pay for these children for the rest of there life's. and now the EU want britan to pay imigrents the same ammount of benifits when they come here, they don't have to have had to work pay tax or ni the goverment should be doing something about this, in stead of taking money off people who are already struggleing thats not fair come on david sort this out, because we are proberly going to have a winter an auterm and proberly next sping full of strike's and thats not good I proberly won't get this posted it will be too PC but everything I'VE SAID ON HERE IS TRUE something needs to done because tax's payer's money is going everywhere but where its needed here in our country and thats also true. we was going to have cuts come what may we all no this, and now he's going to give tax break to married couples so we won't save any money at all so all this for nothing its perfetic we need someone with a proper backbone I'm sick of it all.

  • Comment number 12.

    A very real difficulty one has with this is the sight of multi-millionaire Ministers telling the general public that they must swallow these benefits deductions because 'we're all in it together'.

    It is a very unedifying spectacle and leaves an unpleasant taste, especially when you reflect that it is their cohort, namely professional politicians, Tory and Labour, who are primarily responsible for most of the National Debt.

    These politicians need to handle this very carefully indeed or the English might lose some of their generally apathetic political nature, with some unpleasant consequences.

  • Comment number 13.

    Why think that those on lower incomes are supporting those on higher incomes?

    Those persons affected are homes where at least one person earns about £44,000. The child benefit is a small tax rebate.

    I suspect that this gamble by George Osbourne may not pay off. I say more about it here at my political blog, The Brooks Blog:
    https://the-brooks-blog.blogspot.com/2010/10/george-osbournes-first-roll-of-dice.html

  • Comment number 14.

    Oh no, not the return of the ridiculous and reactionary married couple's tax allowance. Here's me supporting a Conservative policy (the removal of CB for HR taxpayers) for the first time since Adam was in short pants, and this is what I get in return. Thank you tories. MCTA just a downright bad idea. It either works to encourage marriage (in which case it's social engineering of a reprehensible kind) or it doesn't - in which case it's silly "sending an annoying message" gesture politics.

  • Comment number 15.



    Clearly there is an argument to be had about universal benefits. Pros - very high uptake, unbureaucratic, engage all citizens in the 'system, direct to the mother. Cons - apparent absurdity in hard times of giving money to those who need it less/do not need it.

    Once this debate is had and if it is decided that on balance universality is to go then TWO principles should be followed a)the transition to the new situation should be made fairly and b) the new state of affairs should be fair in the long term.

    Gideon Osborne's suggestion seems to fail a) as for someone on say 45k the removal of CB will represent the equivalent of an instant 6% tax rise in 2013 but less for those on greater income and of course none at all for those just below the threshhold. For this reason it should be phased in.
    It fails b) in two ways. The first has not been mentioned clearly yet on this thread. In no other element of the tax or benefit system is there an untapered cut off. It cannot be right that someone on £43k who is due a payrise of 1k would end up (1k-3k) £2k worse off if they gained the payrise. This problem would also arise for skilled workers doing overtime, perhaps to complete an important contract for their company on time. Ludicrous.
    Secondly, the blunt removal of this is regressive, having a bigger effect on those just into the higher rate band than those well in. Well rehearsed are the observations regarding the dual income anomaly. To me this just shows this kind of change cannot be made piecemeal but as part of a complete and rounded rebalancing of the tax and benefit architecture of this country - which I would argue needs a decent public debate.

    Personally, I have spent most of my adult life frustrated at how, in our political discourse, tax has been seen as a bad thing. To me it is what makes a society civilised and instead we have all sorts of backdoor taxes put in place instead. If politicians of all hues asserted the positive value of taxes (at sensible incentivising rates) maybe we would have less avoidance and evasion.

    So the opportunity for a political party to get away from sound bites and lead a grown up national debate exists.
    - how big should the role of the state be
    - how to simplify the tax and benefit system
    - what do we want to prioritise and value more
    - how do we ensure all contribute fairly and how do we deal with the cheats (the rich evaders and benefit abusers.

    I think the answers are out there but politics gets in the way!

  • Comment number 16.

    Child benefit is supposed to give non-working mothers Home Responsibility Protection, that is to say whilst their children are growing up and they are not working their contributions towards their state pension are covered by HRP. This seems to have escaped the notice of Osborne & Cameron. How will they protect these women (and presumably non-working fathers too) in the future? Speaking as someone who is no longer resident in the UK it seems to me that they have not thought this through with any degree of understanding of the implications - and not just the ridiculous anomaly of penalising single income couples and not joint income ones.

  • Comment number 17.

    # 13 Thom Brooks

    "The child benefit is a small tax rebate"

    It's only a 'small tax rebate' to those who don't really need it. The problem is, it all adds up. Giving Child Benefits to parents who are well able to support their own children is not a good use of public money when services are facing swingeing cuts.

    Of course, Child Benefits should always be there for parents on lower incomes who need the extra support. However, It shouldn't be a universal bonus to people just because they have children, irrespective of their actual need.

  • Comment number 18.

    11. At 6:03pm on 05 Oct 2010, jason ambler:

    Is this a joke?

    If you wish to blame immigrants then at least learn to spell the word first.

  • Comment number 19.

    My concern here is that once you slice a piece off one universal benefit, it is easier to slice off the next. And that leads to question what is next? Higher rate tax payers subsidising the NHS with Top-Up fees for healthcare? Higher rate taxpayers paying school fees to their local comprehensive for their childs education? I could go on...

    Higher rate tax payers are just that - we pay more into the tax system by default - we earn more, we pay more. Once you've bitten into the sacred cow of universality it's a slippery slope to start assessing other universal benefits against earnings.

    I'm very surprised by this from the Tories, not what I expected (the cap on benefits is more the Tory ideology I expected). But as policy it's flawed and looks to be a start to dismantling the treasured UK's craddle to grave welfare system and that troubles me greatly.

  • Comment number 20.

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

  • Comment number 21.

    Were it not for the fact that I am typing I would sit with my head in my hands. Somehow checking aggregate household income so that two income families also lose Child Benefit is in the "too difficult" tray while a similar checking to provide a married persons' tax break (horrible expression!) apparently isn't. As a Conservative voter (never a party member) I despair.

    In an earlier thread I said "Dave & George; think again, and soon". (Or something along those lines.) I did not say see who can jerk their knees the fastest, which seems to be what you have done. You have made the cardinal error of dreaming up something that will play well to the gallery without working out whether or not it will actually make any sense, which frankly it doesn't.

    Give the back office trolls a good kicking and start discussing potential policies with those who will have the courage to say "No, Prime Minister". Discard the sycophantic yes - men and get hold of some people who can conduct a proper assessment of how a policy is going to work without having the manifest weaknesses of "first drafts" thrown back at you.

    I had high hopes for this government but I am now forced to wonder if these hopes were misplaced.

    Get a grip!!

  • Comment number 22.

    # 19 Bryn The Cat

    "what is next? Higher rate tax payers subsidising the NHS with Top-Up fees for healthcare? Higher rate taxpayers paying school fees to their local comprehensive for their childs education?"

    All children need schools, but not all parents need Child Benefit. It might have seemed a good idea back in the 1940s when people needed to be encouraged to have children, but it looks like a waste of money now.

    Far better to cut waste, reduce public spending where it is not needed, and allow people to keep more of their own money by not hiking taxes to cover pointless benefits.

  • Comment number 23.

    Hello Nick

    I have just watched the news and once again Dave is repeating the Tory mantra - ' It's because of the financial mess we have inherited ' .
    He seems to have forgotten that the outgoing administration was anything but a 'Labour ' government . It had Margaret Thatcher's ringing endorsement when she described Tony Blair thus ' he is not a socialist' . And so the 'New Labour' government followed broadly Thatcherite policies . So is Dave describing the last few years - following Thatcherite guidelines as the cause of the present mess . It would appear from to-days to-ing and fro-ing that perhaps they are afraid of Ed M's claim to redefine the centre ground of politics . 'A week is a long time in politics ' said Wilson but 30 years of Thatcher-ism is far too long and perhaps someone is beginning to realise this.

  • Comment number 24.

    This child benefit cut is typical of the not too bright Cameron. I am all for seeing the wealthy lose their entitlement to a benefit they do not "need", but surely even the Tories could manage to make the threshold apply to household income and not just the the income of the highest earner! How will this encourage lone parents (single income households) to better themselves, when the minute their earnings exceed £44,000 the child benefit which they need to pay the bills in expensive areas such as the south east is removed from them? Is this really fair when a couple living next door whose earnings of £35,000 each would still be in receipt of the child benefit?! It's utterly patronizing. Your everyday person in the street may not have had Cameron's private education but we can still do the maths!!!

    As for introducing tax breaks as a way of appeasing some their members, shows just how much of an amateur Cameron really is! Apart from anything else the maths suggests this will end up costing more than if the ConDems had left the whole child benefit question alone in the first place!

  • Comment number 25.

    # 23 jabber_jabber

    "And so the 'New Labour' government followed broadly Thatcherite policies"

    Only someone who was very 'Old Labour' would agree with you on this!

  • Comment number 26.

    I don't know if anyone else has felt the same but suddenly the Tories are sounding and talking like THEY ARE the Government.There is no reference to the Coalition and all these policies are being announced at the Tory Conference. Lim Dems must be furious, don't think they announced anything?

    Also I thought the Labour Governement had already made alterations to the tax system to take away the impact of Child Benefit from the main wage earner for high earners but ensuring money still went to the Mother for the children?

    Mr Cameron is getting exceedingly boring blaming the last GOvernement when every other Country is experiencing huge back lashes to their austerity packages. We are all in this together across the Western World.

    Civil servants would never allow a dozen or so Ministers to spend beyond what is considered safe. They are career people not upstarts that come and go at the whim of the public. The last Governemnt did what every other Western Government did, to protect us against the excess of the Banks who have still not been bought to book for their fraudutlent behaviour and who are about to pay themselves onscene bonus'
    But
    he won't attack them more than pay lip service to the public feelings
    and what about the obscene profits announced by Tesco's. Won't touch that either.

    Act in haste repent at leisure

  • Comment number 27.

    What he is dodging is this:

    Why are a family where both parents work able to earn £85,000 (!) and I am still paying taxes to give them full child benefit? Whilst at the same time another family earning only £45K are to lose their benefit.

    He was effectively interviewed on ITV news, ended up having to admit this was unjustifiable and had to apologise.

    Why is he not being so effectively challenged by the BBC?

  • Comment number 28.

    Although I agree fully that people with an income of over £45,000 should not receive child benefit, it is totally unfair that a family with 1 earner loses benefit, while a family with 2 earners receive it..!!
    A family earning a total of £50,000 do not need child benefit. Why can the Government not see that again they have got it wrong. It is obscene that a couple earning a joint income of £82,000 will still get child benefit surely the Government must see sense, hopefully sooner rather than later.

  • Comment number 29.

    Why don't they just bite the bullet and stop ALL child benefit.
    Then no one, or everyone can whinge, but they'll all be equal.
    Simple stuff...Come on David show us your backbone.

  • Comment number 30.

    What i cannot understand is why raising the the income tax by 1p to 41p for these higher earners (£44K +) was not considered over ending universal benefits and the unfairness that has been created, many examples already provded. I think everyone agrees things need to be done but surely everyone paying a small amount extra, rather than certain people losing money would be better way of progressing.

    All taxpayers are going to benefit in near future by plans to increasw tax threasholds to £10K by the end of the parliament.

    I'm sure there are lots of decent earning people who have had children but now do not collect housing benefit who could contribute to the defecit problems, rather then penalising only families.

    This could be sold as a temp move with it being reviewed yearly until defecit has been cleared. I'm pretty certain this would raise a lot more than £1bn that Child benefit does and therfore may only be needed for a couple of years.

  • Comment number 31.

    One of the big disappointments with Labour, driven mainly by Gordon Brown, was the obsession not to use income tax levels to make necessary changes. Instead all too often the horrendously complex tax and benefit system in this country was made even more complicated by tinkering with new credits and one-off payments and NI bits and pieces. We as individuals need to share some of this blame as we would sheepishly agree any lurid tabloid headlines about tax rises if politicians had the guts to do something sensible and simplify things.

    Now we have the Tories in a complete mess over what to do in order to avoid touching the 40% or 50% tax bands and being accused of tax rises - its taken them 5 months to look like bumbling amateurs.

    We have debt levels of 53% (and rising) of GDP due to global financial meltdown, Labour overspending (not to the extent the Tories would like to make us think, but it accounts for some of the problem) and a deep reduction in tax receipts during a pretty nasty recession.

    For goodness sake lets please just make some sensible decisions, properly though through and executed to start helping us back to a sustainable level of debt and a sensible deficit position (say up to £30bn - maybe those better at economics than me have a different view).

    Back to politics to finish - the Torylition will not provide this, too much dogma on spending cuts and benefit reduction (note level of benefits now pretty much same proportion of GDP as in 1997). Not sure Ed will get it right either but I still reckon it would be fairer under Labour. LibDems - wont know until they get rid of the actor they have as a leader.

  • Comment number 32.

    27. jon112dk
    not just the bbc jon. the majority of media are right wing. take LBC radio for example. breakfast show. nick ferrari. openly pro boris johnson. conservative voter. drive time show. james (right wing) whale. said today that he was right of attila the hun. advocating chain gangs today. and wait for it...a new presenter in the evenings...IAN DALE. should change the station name to tory fm.
    and only a little tiny bit in the news today about the top city bankers bonus paypot for 2010 of nearly SEVEN BILLION POUNDS...AND MORE IN 2011.
    sickening. its worse than that though and there isnt a word discusting enough to describe whats happening in our country under this coalition.
    its a great time to be a tory.

  • Comment number 33.

    To be fair to David Cameron, due to this muddle, he is now showing some glimmer of understanding as to just how difficult this is all going to be.

    At least he is very presentable and relatively unflustered, which are going to be handy attributes in the very testing days ahead.

    The assembled crew of coalition politicians, Labour, Lib-Dem and Tory have to make it work - there is no viable alternative.

    We in England certainly cannot go back to the yo-yo politics of left-right-left-right.

    In the end, this blogger thinks that the coalition will be forced by financial circumstances e.g. lower tax income, weak growth, public spending still too high, debt interest payments etc., to be much more radical than the hand they have shown so far.

  • Comment number 34.

    A New, revolutionary, concept: The world is going to the dogs because of the explosion in human population and the mass of humanity is going to become THE global problem of the near future.

    The Tories should remove all payments for Child Benefits and, instead, all single people and childless couples should be rewarded for NOT having children.

    That would really get the wealthy chattering classes on over £44,000 chattering...

  • Comment number 35.

    RE Timetoponder@ "I don't know if anyone else has felt the same but suddenly the Tories are sounding and talking like THEY ARE the Government.There is no reference to the Coalition and all these policies are being announced at the Tory Conference. Lim Dems must be furious, don't think they announced anything?" The Tories ARE the government!!!!! Get used to this. Face it the Lib Dems were used simply as a means to an end, that end being New Thatcherism but worse!!!! Lets all club together what child benefit we have and buy Cameron the handbag and blonde wig for Christmas :-)

  • Comment number 36.

    Is there not a method of means testing this benefit that already exists? - Tax Credits.

    Thanks to Gordon Browns largesse every family with children, earning up to £58,000, receive some form of means tested Tax Credit.

    Child Benefit could simply be made an element of the Tax Credit system, with Child Benefit being lost on an offset basis, like other Tax Credits, the Child Benefit element only being effected when income for the household exceeded the £44,000...

    and if family income was so high that no Tax Credit claim was made (over £58,000), then there would be no Child Benefit either.

    That way a single earning household would not appear to be penalised over a duel earning household.

  • Comment number 37.

    The whole tax system is stuffed to such an extent that short of blowing it all up and starting again, perhaps with a simple lower flat tax (15% -20%?), anything else is mere tinkering with unintended consequences such as this debacle regarding the child benefit.

    Too many tax breaks and 'smoke and mirrors' were introduced in the past as electoral bribes so that they are now regarded as a right by the people (CB) or a vote loser by governments (winter fuel allowance); people have got to use to them, so much so, that they are regarded as supplemantary income rather than a neccessity.

    I know more people than I can count who bank the CB and put it into an investment account!!! The only whinge now is that little Johnny's share portfolio will have to be paid for out of disposable income.

    Things will only get worse until a simple tax system is put in place, the rich pay their fair share, the poorest in society are looked after and the sheer expense of collecting the right amount of tax is reduced.

    If the Tories did this overnight (and I am one of them!), I think the amount collected (electronically with the wasteful administrative ants out of the way) would be greater than at present, this deficit and debt would be sorted quicker, and the really needy would be massively helped than is the situation now.

    The Tories might not win the next election but their good name in history would be guaranteed as the best government ever. I believe it is worth taking this risk because making up softly softly piece meal policies on the hop won't do the job and even then they still might not win the next election.

    Let's reduce and shorten the tax code immediately and for those of you worried about the ants, use them to enforce the collection of monies at the very top and/or sort out true benefit claimants from the false ones; they won't need to go on the dole because there will be more money for government to play with in order to retain them instead of making them unemployed.

    BTW this is my offering to doing things differently.

    I know other bloggers will disagree but do me and the rest of us a favour; if you do disagree, come up with an alternative.

    The country needs you to come up with a solution.

    Too many of the above (and the below for that matter) are all too quick to say they disagree with something but as far as I can see the vast majority of the terrace trolls don't come up with one alternative.

    My alternative may not be practical, ethical, possible and so on but at least it's an alternative.

    PS. As regards this child benefit, I agree that if the threshold is set at £x, it should apply to joint incomes as well as single incomes per household which is why the policy is ludicrous and will be more so if MCTA is introduced as a sop.

  • Comment number 38.

    25 Distant Traveller

    It seems to me from the posts in the recent past that there are a considerable number of 'Old Labour ' ( those who put people before money )still extant .

  • Comment number 39.

    27. At 8:09pm on 05 Oct 2010, jon112dk wrote:

    What he is dodging is this:

    Why are a family where both parents work able to earn £85,000 (!) and I am still paying taxes to give them full child benefit? Whilst at the same time another family earning only £45K are to lose their benefit.

    He was effectively interviewed on ITV news, ended up having to admit this was unjustifiable and had to apologise.

    Why is he not being so effectively challenged by the BBC?
    ************************************************************************
    Cameron did not apologise on ITV news for single high income householders losing out on child benefit whilst two income families retain it, he apologised for it not being in the manifesto. All the political parties were guilty of that. Means testing household income is expensive, not difficult but it involves administration which would cost more than the saving. Whether you are on a single or joint income of over £44k you are not in poverty and should be able to bear the burden. If not you will need to learn the lessons most of us on average earnings have had to over the years and live within your income. I applaud Osborne and Cameron for being brave enough to take on the "sharp elbowed middle classes" particularly as they are probably conservative voters.

  • Comment number 40.

    This is a huge effective tax rise for a couple with only one partner earning about 44,000 GBP. If they have 3 kids then the child benefit will be about 2,600 per year and the working partner will need to earn more that 5,000 (taxed at 40%)extra to make up for this loss in take home pay. That represents an approximate 10% tax increase for a limited number of people. The effective tax rise is a huge hit for a certain targeted group of people. So much for "all in this together". Would it not be fairer to make a small tax rise across the board such that the same ammount of money is raised from a larger number of people and hence the drop in income for any one family is much smaller?

  • Comment number 41.

    The tax code has become so complex that even accountants complain (and it is broadly in their interest to have a system that is too complicated for Joe Public to get to grips with).

    Likewise with benefits, hence the IDS proposal to shrink the benefits system to a single universal benefit.

    But you may have noticed the practical issues - you cannot dream up a new system and implement it in a short timescale and there is also a migration issue as people move from one system to another, so the universal benefits system is to be rolled out over a number of years (about eight I believe) with upfront and heavy initial maintenance costs.

    As this blogger is all for honesty in Government, then I too would wish to see the folding of Employers NI, Employees NI and Income Tax into a single flat rate tax with the threshold floating annually at whatever the official individual 'poverty' income level is.

    A by-product of such a simple system is that personal tax avoidance for income would not really be worth the effort.

    Again, there would be a 'migration' issue, as millions of people are moved from one system to another and also heavy upfront development and maintenance costs.

    Nevertheless, the end product should be a reliable and trustworthy personal tax system and one which the politicians would have to somehow resist their tendency to meddle with.

  • Comment number 42.

    1. At 5:23pm on 05 Oct 2010, DistantTraveller wrote:
    Clearly it isn't fair for people on low incomes without children to subsidise rich parents. The days of a universal child benefit are obviously over.

    But the Tories have got it totally wrong on allowances for married couples to 'compensate' them for the loss of child benefits.

    Why should people who are single subsidise those who are married?

    Benefits should be according to need - not marital status. This is social engineering and more of the nanny state.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm not sure I should be the one breaking this to you, but isnt everyone who is paying tax into the system subsidising everyone else, particularly those who take something out of the system in the form of government services?

    Regardless of how many kids they've got or not, and regardless of their level of income?


    This subsidising angle is spurious and sorry, but just moaning for the sake of it.

  • Comment number 43.

    32#

    I'm surprised that you're not so depressed that you havent thrown a seven yet lefty. All that greed and profligacy and the squirearchy eating the babies of the poor whilst they've got their foot on the head of a working class untermensch.

    All that emotion you're pouring into it and getting nowhere. Must feel like trying to swim in treacle.

    Bless....

  • Comment number 44.

    "Civil servants would never allow a dozen or so Ministers to spend beyond what is considered safe."

    Oh really?


    Where did you pull that pearl of wisdom from, pray tell???

  • Comment number 45.

    Ha-ha-ha.

    How ironic, fabulously wealthy types on £44K+ PA squealing because nanny is taking their benefits away, and being supported by socialist slogan chanting types who were screaming for the rich to be taxed into oblivion only a few months ago.

    Ha-ha-ha

  • Comment number 46.

    We need a tax and benefits system that is broadly acceptable to the British people. Dong silly tinkering is always a disaster.

    Towards a New Integrated Tax and Benefits System

    My recipe is a 10K personal allowance 25% tax rate to 30K then 40% to 50K then 60% to 140K (The Prime Minister's pay) then 100%. Get rid of all the fancy incentive schemes and permitted avoidance schemes. Global income to be taxed for every UK citizen (Scrap Non. Doms. entirely). Everyone to do an annual tax return.

    Align the Tax year with the Calendar year - it is an absurd nonsense to stick to a centuries old new year and quarter day and a pre-Julian date system.

    Scrap employees National insurance. Retain the employers' part of National Insurance.

    Corporation Tax broadly in line with personal tax. All business, to be treated as liable for Corporation Tax whether of not they are Limited companies or partnerships or just sole-traders etc.

    Now, as all people employed, earning or not, have to do a return of income this now forms the basis for a negative tax or tax credit computation.

    Children, marriage, old age, infirmity etc. can then be adjusted as a tax credit. For example pensioners who have paid in would get a tax credit for their old age pension, families a tax credit for children, the disable say blind would also get a credit.

    Those receiving benefits or salary would receive this monthly direct to their bank accounts. Everyone in the country would require a bank account from which the revenue could deduct the monthly tax change and pay the tax credit. Employers would still be required to notify the revenue of payment each month or week as they are paid. The Revenue's computer system would then simultaneously make the deductions from the employees bank account or pay the credit. This would relieve the employer from being an unpaid tax collector and get rid of all the errors in the present system. Dividends and interest would still need to be paid net of tax and those receiving these would be required to do an annual tax return with provisions for payment on account as they are at present.

    The tax code is far far too big and must be reduced - if I can make a stab at it in under 2000 characters why is it getting bigger and bigger each year? - is it perhaps that our Civil Service in the Treasury is failing us big time! All they have to do is say to every Chancellor that the system is to complex to be implement every time he wants to tinker with it - why didn't they stop Gordon Brown abolition of the 10p tax bank - were they asleep! We must have wholesale reform.

  • Comment number 47.

    @ #34 Menedemus

    I have just come across from Nick's previous blog and felt obliged to respond to your three vitriolic rants on that thread. I do so again. However, this time I'm a little confused; I assumed that your politics were to the right of Attila the Hun, perhaps I was wrong and your social engineering policy sits better with Chairman Mao.

    Your trivialisation of serious issues beggars belief - perhaps the tory led coalition should consider compulsory euthanasia for anyone over 85?That would also solve the problem of burgeoning population whilst reducing the cost of state pensions and for drugs and care for those who have already had 20+ years (depending on sex) of state freebies!

    Because that's the real problem - not too many kids but too many pensioners! It's not pensioners fault either, but the welfare state was not designed to support a 1/4 (soon to be 1/3) of the population in retirement and in need of ever more expensive scientific cures to keep them alive or in care even longer.

    That's what I expected when I voted for this lot - a bit of fairness and commonsense when it comes to sharing the pain. Instead of fairness, hardworking families are kicked to pieces whilst pensioners and others with earnings above the higher rate tax threshold get away scot free!

    Don't start me on the Bankers and super rich who will just get richer whoever is in power, after all they are the politicians (of whatever persuasion) best mates and in real terms are in Cameron / Osbourne's case financial equals. Despite their protestations (methinks they protest too much) neither DC/NC or GO would dare touch them.

    By the way, I have no problem with losing child benefit or not being able to retire until I am 67 (at the latest guesstimate), but I don't then see why I should then subsisdise higher earning pensioners free tv licences, fuel payments, prescriptions and local travel so that they can afford next years foriegn sojourns. Or indeed why single higher rate taxpayers should qualify for an automatic 25% reduction on their council tax.

    After all, we're all in this together... Or not at all.


  • Comment number 48.

    The same old tories with the same old story!Protect the rich,push the middle class to the edge,even worse ignore the poor!!GIven the cost of living vs the standard ,I can't get my head around the way the limit fo child benefit is being worked out!.

  • Comment number 49.

    @29 JRR
    I wouldn't go quite as far as you, so quickly, but broadly support a lessening on dependancy.

    A half way house approach might be to reduce the awarding of CB, on a reducing scale, between now and 2015 to a maximum of 2 children ( with exceptions for children that arrive as a result of natural multiple births).

    At the same time, and on the same time-scale, a reduction in the age of children supported down to the age of 12 years.

    Thus, in 2015, we could have a system of CB payable for only two children up to the age of 12 years.

    This will give people who plan to build families over the next five years a clear indication of exactly what support they might expect to receive from the state, and thus to plan accordingly.

    Can anyone indicate how much this approach would save for the current social security CB budget?

  • Comment number 50.

    Nick,

    I think a big point is being missed here by the media...

    If Nick Clegg is involved in every major decision (his claim), then why did he or his fellow ministers not speak out at their own conference to amend the motion supporting keeping universal child benefit? It would be interesting to find out which Lib Dem MP's supported this motion as they effectively voted against a goverment policy.

    Either Clegg knew and misled (or at least omitted to tell) them, or more likely he's just found out that he's only there for window dressing and to allow the Conservative party to spread the fallout from cuts....

  • Comment number 51.

    @30 Mark Burrell wrote:

    "All taxpayers are going to benefit in near future by plans to increasw tax threasholds to £10K by the end of the parliament."

    Do you REALLY think that is a viable option? You'll be telling us next that the re-introduction of the married couples tax allowance will come to pass.

    The country is broke and interest payments on the national debt are almost at the point of spiraling out of control.

    Here's a preview of the next few announcements...

    25% cut in public sector staffing levels.
    Reduction of the state pension.
    Income tax increases.
    Jobseekers allowance cut, instantly making people better off in work, even on minimum wage.

    You do know that some of the banks will need bailing out again next year don't you? The government can't print enough funny money this time around, that leaves me, you and everyone else on here paying for it.

  • Comment number 52.

    Also, I'm tempted to ask why people are still here arguing about whether relatively well off people should or shouldn't lose/keep CB.

    In a few short months this issue will not be worthy of a mention as other 'fun' policies are put into place. You think this has cost you a pretty penny? You haven't seen anything yet.

  • Comment number 53.

    comment 50 by Stave Way.

    I think that the answer is simple. Even George Osbourn did not know about the change to child benefit.

    He just thought of it 5 minutes before he stood up to make the speach. Even George the intelectually challanged, had he thought of the policy for 10 minutes before rising to his feet would have understood what a mess of a policy it really is. People with children earning just below the higher tax band will be turning down promotion and pay rises in order to save the 5-10% of their take home pay that comes from child benefit! What a shambles.

  • Comment number 54.


    Worth noting that in various parts of rip off UK, especially London, a household income of just £44k is fairly modest. A family on that household income will already be fairly stretched.

    Now, to that situation add the ConLib ruse to take child benefit from people on such modest incomes while leaving families of nearly twice that income untouched.

    Next, forget about the broken Tory pre-election promise to leave child benefit alone. Then, gloat about taking several thousand pounds from such families at a stroke while ignoring the unwarranted £7 billion going in city bonuses. Finally, sprinkle on some tax allowance for married couples in a desperate attempt to compensate for the error and failure to anticipate the consequences...

    So what is wrong with this ConLib ruse?

    1) It is regressive and unfair because it hits those on modest incomes while deliberately leaving those on nearly double the incomes untouched.

    2) Its breaks an important Tory pre-election commitments and is done without a mandate.

    3) It harms especially single working parents on modest incomes.

    4) It attacks the traditional family.

    5) It attacks the financial support for children.

    6) It diverts money from children in families on modest incomes to rich married couples

    7) It attacks the principle of universality.

    8) It's unnecessarily complicates the welfare and tax system, esp when we include the knee jerk reaction to reintroduce married couple allowance.

    In short a shocking fiasco.

    Sounds like the Etonian millionaires didn’t do their prep or maybe it is just typical of what we can expect from this lot.

    Do they make this stuff up as they go along?

  • Comment number 55.

    deejaysdad @#47

    I responded to your barbed comments at my #128 on the previous thread but, in synopsis:

    You take it all far too seriously my old fruit.

    This spurious couple each earning £43,000 probably does not exist and even if they did Joe Public is not and never going to ever know what they earn.

    How would you know this couple of neighbours near you earn £75,000 and how do you know that one is not on £50,000 and the other not on £25,000 - in which case they are in exactly the same boat as you but as only one person earns more than £44,000. In any case they jointly pay MORE tax than you presuming you are right about their earnings.

    If you know what other people are earning perhaps you can let me know what Nick Robinson’s earning; the DG of the BBC won’t tell the rest of us even if we pay his wages!

    Just man up, give up your £2,500 pocket money, live well like everyone who earns nearly twice the average household income should do, be glad of being able to earn that much, enjoy the fruits of your labour, live within your means and stop whingeing.

    The families having their social benefits are, not before time, having their benefits payments reduced to the cap of £500 per week and, for some of them, they are giving up a lot more than £2,500.

    If they have to take those pains then so can you with your £45,000 household income.


  • Comment number 56.

    With due respect to Guido Fawkes for source:

    Labour are hiring the following jobs ...

    Salary ranging from £23k to £37k, fixed term contract:

    Senior Policy Officers – from £33k
    Policy and Research Coordinator – from £30k
    Research Officers – from £30k
    Policy Officers – from £30k
    Campaigns Copywriter – from £30k
    Administration Support Assistant – from £23k
    Frontbench Communication Officers – from £30k
    Head of Frontbench Communications – from £37k
    Campaigns Officers – from £30k
    Head of Leader’s and Frontbench Visits – from £37k
    Frontbench Visits Officer – from £30k
    Graphic Designer – from £25k,

    Being couples is probably not a requirement for getting the posts but the applicants need not worry, even if they are married or in relationship and they have children they will be getting their Child Benefits. The Tories have seen to that!

    The applicants with children just need to make sure that the salary accepted is not much higher the 'starting from ...' end of the salary scale.

    You see the now that the spurious cause celebre of this fictitious family that everyone seems to know earns £86,000 even though that must be a guesstimate.

    Indeed we will never know how much the hired Labour Party drones will be earning but they will no doubt be posting here very soon lambasting the beastly Tories even if the Tories made sure they were okay for getting their pocket money for the kids.

  • Comment number 57.

    # 42 Fubar_Saunders

    "but isnt everyone who is paying tax into the system subsidising everyone else"

    I don't see it like that!

    When benefits are funded out of taxation, I think there is an expectation that the money flows to those who actually need it.

    Child Benefit is not a genuine 'benefit' as we would normally understand it today, but a throw-back to the 1940s now in need of an overhaul. The old 'family allowance' was originally intended to help parents with their second and subsequent children, to encourage population growth after the war.

    Obviously people on lower incomes who need child benefit should still receive it, but a 'universal' benefit is not a good use of public money, particularly when public services are being slashed because of the financial crisis.

    Wherever the threshold falls and however it is calculated (individual parent or household), there are plenty of people who can afford to raise their own children without the need of this anachronistic universal benefit. I think the Tories are right to tackle this thorny issue, but wrong to muddy the water with an unwelcome married couples allowance - which obviously discriminates unfairly against single people. It also smacks of social engineering, something the Tories already proposed in the run up to the General Election.

    "This subsidising angle is spurious and sorry, but just moaning for the sake of it."

    Sorry you see it that way!

  • Comment number 58.

    I agree with most of what Distant Traveller says.

    I think the MCA or even a transferable one is a silly idea. There is little evidence to show that married couples provide a better family upbringing than unmarried couples. And even if there was any such evidence it would still discriminiate massively against those that chose not to marry and are "responsible"- whatever that means. That is not what taxes or incentives from the state should be about.

    The scrapping of the child benefit for higher rate taxpayers couldn't have come soon enough. Any system which taxes individuals and then gives them back benefits is bonkers. It results in government waste administering the collection of taxes, recycling of money within government departments and then distribution back to the SAME people - which ultimately leads to more taxes. Child benefit should clearly be means tested and the simplest way of doing that is to target only higher tax rate payers.

    I would go further and in my view, it should probably be removed altogether to anyone who pays tax. Instead, if the state wants to give more money to people with children (if that is seen as desirable) then it would make more sense to let those people pay less tax in the first place - ie lower the rate they pay. ie a cash hand out of child benefit should just be for people with no income who really need help buying nappies, food etc.

    One last idea: Child benefit should be paid in special vouchers rather than cash which can only be redeemed in the UK for purchases of stuff for kids - eg children's books, nappies, child food and clothes etc. That prevents any possibility of the extra cash being used by the parents for their own fun eg for booze, fags, sky TV etc....which of course they never would....

  • Comment number 59.

    Still do not understand why, if the finances are so dire,we are waiting until 2013 to implement this sensible cut. My trusty Back Of The Envelope suggests accumulated interest payments on the deficit between now and then will have been around 60 billion. The change only yields 1 billion and even that will be diluted if Cameron goes ahead with tax breaks for married couples. If things are so bad why has the government done so little to raise extra cash in its 4 months in office? I do not count the loss of ( some) ministerial cars and the capping of ministerial salaries as serious attempts to reduce the deficit........

  • Comment number 60.

    All the arguments above seem to think that things should be "Fair".

    Life is not fair.

    In my early married life I well remember one month when outgoings plus bills exceeded incomings. We delayed some payments, cut our spending by turning off heating for the month, not going out at all, eating porridge for breakfast and jam sandwiches for lunch, and not spending any money without thinking very seriously about it. Life was tough for that month, but the next month was better, and so on.

    The country is effectively broke and we all have to pull in our horns and live within our means. Life never was fair. Stop moaning and get on with it. As Winston Churchill used to say - "K B O".

  • Comment number 61.

    #46 John_from_Hendon

    100% tax rate (in effect maximum wage of £140,000)

    This would be an act of economic vandalism that would cost the UK billions of pounds in lost revenue, and hundreds of billions of pounds in lost investment.

    For reasons that really ought to be obvious, and shouldn't need me or anyone else to point them out to you.

  • Comment number 62.

    Unbelievable chaos - well, not unbelievable, really!

    Once again the Tories think there's a quick fix without thinking of the ramifications...
    If the whole point is to save money (a whole other discussion about speed and depth) then why on earth are they then offering a tax break??!!

    Come on Nick, ask the direct question - it's clearly politics not finance - something the Tories are being accused of more and more and here it is right in front of our faces.

    No-one's arguing about tightening the purses - just how.

  • Comment number 63.

    So Cameron is leaking that he intends to defend the child benefit fiasco on the grounds that it is 'fair' ?

    Giving full child benefit to a family on over £80,000 pa is fair?

    What we need is a clear statement about whether the 1 working parent vs 2 working parents fiasco is a foul up by a chancellor who has no experience of either the real world or government, or is it a deliberate lack of care because the admin is easier?

    Surely the BBC has not made any deals that prevent them from pushing for a clear statement on this? ITV is doing a good job of persuing the issues.

  • Comment number 64.

    #61. johnharris66 wrote:

    "
    #46 John_from_Hendon
    "100% tax rate (in effect maximum wage of £140,000)"

    This would be an act of economic vandalism that would cost the UK billions of pounds in lost revenue, and hundreds of billions of pounds in lost investment.

    For reasons that really ought to be obvious, and shouldn't need me or anyone else to point them out to you.
    "

    There are NO economic reasons at all. You can't list them as they don't actually exist!

    It is just that you want a society that it totally governed and managed for the private greed of the rich. Your Big Society is one where the poor does all the work and the rich take all the benefit! I don't and I believe the vast majority of the British people don't. You may have been paid to argue the case for the rich, but that does not mean you are right!

  • Comment number 65.

    #64 continued

    The last time the 'rich must be free to become super rich argument' was used was by one Margaret Thatcher and the last 30 years have proved that her experiment and her argument has been proven to be WRONG.

    The whole idea of 'Trickle Down Economics' has proven to be void and it does not work - all that happens is that inequality increases and the poor become poorer. The data is available if you choose to look it up - but the facts are seldom interesting to those that refuse to learn!!!

  • Comment number 66.

    "60. At 07:54am on 06 Oct 2010, vandriver wrote:
    All the arguments above seem to think that things should be "Fair".

    Life is not fair.

    In my early married life I well remember one month when outgoings plus bills exceeded incomings. We delayed some payments, cut our spending by turning off heating for the month, not going out at all, eating porridge for breakfast and jam sandwiches for lunch, and not spending any money without thinking very seriously about it. Life was tough for that month, but the next month was better, and so on.

    The country is effectively broke and we all have to pull in our horns and live within our means. Life never was fair. Stop moaning and get on with it. As Winston Churchill used to say - "K B O"."

    Amen.

    If the 17 Tory years are caricatured as years of greed, the 13 Labour years have ingrained an indolent expectation of something for nothing. People are 'outraged' that they can't afford to buy a house 2 weeks after leaving school or Uni and before they've received their first pay-packet. Everyone thinks it's their 'right' to have everything and something must be wrong if they haven't got it.

    Except for a very lucky few, life is about slowly and gradually building things up and perhaps enjoying them more for that.

    At the moment, the country is paying the price for the extravagance under Labour and things WILL be tough. For the second year in a row we have a pay freeze at work. Because we're a private firm and can see that this is the reality of the economy, we're not screeching about our workers' "right" to a pay rise and threatening to go on strike.

    There's no doubt the Coalition have handled the child benefit business badley but let's lok at what they are doing. Tax rises, the only tax cuts going to low paid and benefits being withdrawn for the better off. Does that sound like a sterotype Tory administration? One that supposedly is always looking after its own?

    It shows the trouble the economy is in when the Coalition is having to raise taxes AND cut spending. Have people not yet worked that out? Cutting spending, yes, that's what a Tory Government would try and do but only to reduce the burden of taxes and so reinvigorate the economy. To have to cut and raise taxes shows what a mess Labour made of things.

  • Comment number 67.

    How encouraging to see so many left wing commentators on here championing the cause of the top 15% of earners. At last you recognise how important such people are to the economy.

  • Comment number 68.

    "30. At 8:20pm on 05 Oct 2010, Mark Burrell wrote:
    What i cannot understand is why raising the the income tax by 1p to 41p for these higher earners (£44K +) was not considered over ending universal benefits and the unfairness that has been created"

    Mark, I don't know about you but if the Government are taking something off me I am not fooled by what they call it.

    Tax is charged at 40% on taxable income above £37,400 and there is a 1% NIC charge. So 41% is already taken out of every £1 earned at that level. This goes up to 40% + 2% next April. You want to add ANOTHER 1% to that? Give us a break. I don't get any child benefit.

  • Comment number 69.

    The coverage of this issue in the Sun this morning is utterly repellent. Josef Goebbels would be proud.

  • Comment number 70.

    #64 John_from_Hendon wrote:
    "You may have been paid to argue the case for the rich"

    What nonsense.

    The simplest calculation of the loss of tax revenue is to take the proportion of income over £140,000 and multiply it by 50% (the difference between the current tax rate and your 100%).

    After that it becomes more subjective, though the figures increase dramatically, not least because of the multiplier effect.

    At the moment financial services pay over 60 billion in tax. We can assume that London will no longer be a financial centre and that a considerable proportion of this revenue will be lost permanently.

    Associated service industries such as management consultancy, high-end accountancy, law will follow.

    Nearly all multi-national head offices will leave the UK.

    There will a loss of high-tech research and "cultural services".

    You don't say what your taxation policy towards capital will be, but I think I can guess. The UK will be "closed for business". Capital will leave the UK, and inward investment will cease.

    The price of servicing the UK's debts will soar, and lead to eventual bankruptcy.

  • Comment number 71.

    The moral to this episode is not to announce cuts in benefits singly: announce them all at once so that the general roar of protest deafens out the specific complaints.

    I must confess to be as amazed as Osborne and Cameron at this furore as one always assumed that the better off were not given to the whinge of the mendicant, being too proud to stretch their arm out in supplication for alms from the passing taxpayer.

    Now we know that the self-styled middle class these days are just jumped-up clerks with their hand firmly embedded in their employer's pocket. The fact that they refuse to wear ties is not a statement of values but because they cannot understand why they should spend their wages on an item that they do not know how to wear.

    The country has well and truly gone to the dogs.

  • Comment number 72.

    "65. At 09:09am on 06 Oct 2010, John_from_Hendon wrote:
    #64 continued

    The last time the 'rich must be free to become super rich argument' was used was by one Margaret Thatcher"



    So what was Peter Mandleson's comment about being "intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich." about? That was in 1998. When Labour were in power. Mrs Thatcher stopped being Prime Minister in 1990.

    Care to rethink your comment?

    Thatcher really is a mythical monster to you on the left isn't she? Apparently possessing powers to destroy countries 20 years after she stopped being Prime Minister if some are to be believed.

  • Comment number 73.

    I think our family will be in the bracket of the hardest hit both with CB and C Tax Credit.
    My husband has worked as a teacher for 17 years and is currently on 43k.
    We have four children 2,3,5,7.
    The two who are not at school are in nursery as I try to complete a PhD I began in 2000.
    I do not consider us wealthy. We are able to save 25 a month for the kids, save towards a holiday 100/mth and towards our next car. Those things I realise are a blessing but very much needed to keep us out of debt.
    We also give which I assume the Government would like us to continue doing.
    In the current scenario, as I understand it, will be losing C Tax credit and CB
    I am flabbergasted that I could earn 43k myself and as long as my hustand stays under the threshold (which he won't be by 2013) we would not loose CB despite bringing in 43k more than a family that does! This seems so unbelievably unfair as the second earner in a household also gains the benefits of the first xk tax free etc...
    Are they deliberately trying to target those who have looked after their kids!?

  • Comment number 74.

    46. - "My recipe is a 10K personal allowance 25% tax rate to 30K then 40% to 50K then 60% to 140K (The Prime Minister's pay) then 100%."

    Always good to know where people are coming from. What would your top rate of tax be under this system you're proposing?

    Mine would be 60% and to be quite honest it would remove all incentive to work harder. I'd be looking at any advancement taking me into a 100% tax bracket so there would, quite simply be no point. The 100% tax bracket would raise precisely 'nil' because nobody would work.

    Want to take a guess what the Premier League would look like on a Saturday afternoon under your tax proposals?

    And let me ask you, suppose I ran a shop which sold a unique product and was so successful I made proits of £100,000 a month. What possible reason would I have of keeping the shop open after the first 6 weeks of trading each year? There would be no point. I would close the shop and lay off my staff.

    Or more likely I'd go abroad and sell my product there. And that country would benefit from employment and taxes from the profits.

    Get your calculator out and see which is more - 40% of £1,000,000 or 100% of nothing.

  • Comment number 75.

    Does the BBC hate 'protectionism' in Britain in terms of its international trade as, indeed, regularly indicates this by its apparent reluctance to even discuss the issue. Would Britain be better off 'protecting itself' by e.g. raising indirect taxation on damaging imported products which put and now keep British workers on the dole. This might soften the deep and savage 'cuts' needed on welfare reform also.

    Does the BBC have a view on 'protectionism' or be prepared to make a few programmes on the subject as Britain slides economically under the weight of an artificially cheapened onslaught of foreign imports?

    Yet the only sizeable UK 'business element' that is 'fully protected' is the BBC.

    As a BBC licence payer, I think that the BBC licence fee could be cut by 50% or more by merging the BBC with a pan European media broadcaster and thereby integrate Britain with Europe on news and media and give a more 'pan-european focus'.

    This would mean of course, some at the BBC, losing their jobs and being replaced by more 'foreigners' ... I can't wait!

    This might mean the Coalition govt 'cutting a few cables' ... One of which has 'Vince' written on it.

    We're all in this together - 'globalisation' should be for all if we're not going to protect our strategic UK domestic business interests.

  • Comment number 76.

    64 - "There are NO economic reasons at all. You can't list them as they don't actually exist!"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laffer_curve

    You could start with the above. It has its critics but none of those critics are daft enough to defend the concept of a 100% tax rate.

    Can you list any economists in favour of a 100% tax rate? Can you name any countries with thriving economies and a 100% top rate of tax? Or a top arte of tax anywhere near that?

    Can you think of reasons why your brilliant idea is not being used anywhere?

  • Comment number 77.

    No60 Andy,
    If spending under the previous government was 'extravagent', why do you think the Tories said they would spend more?

  • Comment number 78.

    Careful Andy, you're starting to sound a bit socialist. Tax the rich and succour the poor. Your journey towards enlightenment has surely begun!
    If you're saying that tory and labour governments over the last 40 years have got it wrong on the economy, essentially because they both followed the same policies (and the economic stats back this up), then I'm with you all the way.
    Who gained from the past 40 years? We know the answer to this. Those at the top of the income scale. Failure to value the considerable contribution of those lower down the scale is part of the problem. High dividends and preferential treatment for those at the top on the back of driving wages down has not been helpful. Yes, even the coalition are starting to see this. Those who gained most are obvious targets to raise extra cash and are best placed to do it with the least harm caused. Increased taxation is undoubtedly part of the solution. It would be nice to think that the Coalition's Big Society idea would have lead to those at the top voluntarily forgoing wage rises or even taking taking cuts. Acknowledging their responsibility cheerfully to pay increased taxes until the problems are sorted out. I'm not holding my breath.
    You're beginning to realise that the 77 -23% split does not get it right. Rebalancing is not just about accepting that lower wages and poorer services for the majority is the only way out. Where I come from 50 - 50 is considered fair.
    Life isn't fair but that's no excuse for not trying to make it as fair as possible. I've been robbed! But let's not bother about having a police force or a legal system to try to do anything about it. Life's not fair!

  • Comment number 79.

    AndyC555 @ 67: "How encouraging to see so many left wing commentators on here championing the cause of the top 15% of earners. At last you recognise how important such people are to the economy."

    I cannot work out if you are serious or just being sarcastic. As individuals people in the "top 15%" bracket are not by definition particularly important to the economy, although the businesses they represent may be. In many cases they will not have businesses that they can take somewhere else. Reductio as absurdam: would you allow the "top 15%" to argue that "if you try to tax me at all I will leave?"

    I think that if I were Chancellor of the Exchequer and someone said to me "I will leave the country if you try that" my response would be "then you can leave now" and to escort them firmly and politely to the door.

    While I am appalled at the lack of thought that appears to have been given to recent proposals before they were announced we cannot as a country allow ourselves to be blackmailed by any special interest group, be it bankers or "high earners". Perhaps the "top 15%" might just like to pause and have a little consideration for the "bottom 15%" before indulging in the poor little me/us type of argument.

    Osborne (and we must assume Cameron as well) made the cardinal error of making an ill - considered announcment to a party conference (doubtless in the hope of adulation) and has been rewarded by the sky falling on his head. Frankly it is no more than he deserved; while there is undoubtedly a case for the withdrawal of CB from "upper earners" (however they are to be defined) this was not the way to go about it.

  • Comment number 80.

    why doesn't the government do away with all the child benefit and replace it with a 10% tax band just for those earning up to the Nat average
    It amazes me the people who are shouting the most are those earning massive salaries, it seems that we agree with cuts being made as long as it doesn't affect us personally, this is a very selfish attitude

  • Comment number 81.

    One policy announcement from this rag bag government led by two Old Etonian dunces. Result - shambles, mess and chaos. Why did the Downing Street press office ( sometimes referred to as 'Hackers Haven') trained at the News of the World and the Sun not spot such an obvious own goal?. Rupert will be annoyed.

  • Comment number 82.

    The changes do not take effect until 2013 and the issue about the non working spouse in a higher tax paying household being disadvantaged by the proposed cut in child benefit ... can very easily be rectified by a very simple appeal system (a few lines on the back of the child benefit letter) whereby e.g.

    Those in the 'disadvantaged category' who wish to continue receiving the tax should provide their last two years annual household income and if this is less than the highest regional/national average income of those households with two non higher tax-rate paying adults ... then the disadvantaged household should continue to receive child benefit.

    This will cost some extra money to administer but is minor in the scheme of things and should still be cost effective and ensure that most of these disadvantaged non-working individuals receive 'fairness'.

    Why such a fuss about a minor tax and benefit anomoly from the BBC? ... the UK tax and benefit systems are full of such loopholes and anomolies, including those maintained by Gordon Brown for 13 years as benefitting e.g. 'non doms'.

    If the BBC want to write about something that is genuinely unfair and anomolous try e.g. ... Council Tax ... whereby only about 40% (?) of UK adults are actually pay anything towards the extensive local govt services that everyone receives ... as is also subject to massive fraud and tax evation.

    Never a mention on this from the BBC

    BTW - For goodness sake Mr Cameron ... just put in some caveats that there will be a few 'anomolies' to be sorted out before all tax and benefit changes take full effect.

  • Comment number 83.

    77. At 09:59am on 06 Oct 2010, IPGABP1 wrote:
    No60 Andy,
    If spending under the previous government was 'extravagent', why do you think the Tories said they would spend more?"

    well, like the 'Golden Rule' and 'fiscal responsibility' I always thinnk the test is what people do in power not what they say before hand.

    Besides, the Tories stopped saying that in the autumn of 2008 when they realised the economy was going down the pan. Brown carried on spending like a mad man until dragged out of Downing Street in May 2010.

  • Comment number 84.

    kirklandhamlin @ 73: "The two who are not at school are in nursery as I try to complete a PhD I began in 2000."

    If I understand you correctly you have chosen to be a "mature student" rather than "work". For this you want me to have to pay tax on my pension income which is approximately 1/3 of your husband's salary. Do I have the same free choice about this as you have? It doesn't appear so.

    You made the decision to have four children and continue with your studies. I do not have the choice about whether or not I have to subsidise your family, so please just have a little consideration for those lower down the income scale.

    What I find truly astonishing - and more than a little disturbing - is there seems to be a direct correlation between income and the degree of entitlement to access to the money of others, either by direct subsidy or by lesser demands being placed on that higher income. An exaggerated sense of entitlement is a sympton of Narcissitic Personality Disorder. Deeply worrying.

    And the really silly thing is that I am a long - time conservative voter...

  • Comment number 85.

    It must be very confusing being either a supporter or a member of her Majety's Loyal Opposition right now.

    Not only are you being asked to oppose the coalition announcement on child benefit, simultaneously sanctioing payments to the richest 15% of the population... but you are opposing a policy that has 83% support in the general public.....according to the yougov opinion poll asking the question.

    This explains why an ill thought out strategy, such as that pursued by Yvette Cooper, of jumping on the airwaves and preaching the gospel of universal benefits, is such an ill advised course of action. But she is joined by an army of misty eyed guardianistas who cannot believe their beloved welfare state with its universal benefits is being dismantled before their very eyes. Not for them going to work, saving and looking after your family; rather the world of free bus passes, free swimming for pensioners, handouts for the workshy.

    And how quiet the apologists for the party formerly known as newlabour have gone since the latest opinion poll. Conservative 43% Labour 39% LibDem 11% the day after what was supposed to be the biggest coalition PR disaster yet. I make that 54% to the coalition and goodnight Red Ed; the only new leader ever to not secure a feel good bounce...But then why would anyone feel good about a north London Marxist taking over your party?

    It's a great time to be a tory...

  • Comment number 86.

    The Toy Story Impersonation Squad AKA the 'Milli-gang' have been rather quiet ... perhaps they still have not worked out 'what' they would have 'cut' and by 'how much' and 'when'.

  • Comment number 87.

    #78 Idon't Beleivit

    I think we've all gained from economic growth over the last 40 years.

    Economic growth (except of the bubble variety) has powered substantial advances in public services available to all. One has only to compare the range of services provided by the NHS now with those on offer 40 years ago.

    More generally, for anyone who has the time and interest, there is an outstanding essay by Yuval Levin "Recovering the Case for Capitalism" at the nationalaffairs website. Highly recommended for the argument, even for those who make not agree with all of it.

  • Comment number 88.

    Why dont they just admit that this child benefit policy was ill thought out and shows that despite the bleating about how everyone is in this together its the middle class not the upper class who are paying for everything.Its Tory through and through and nothing to do with reducing the countries debt.For Tory read dogma,dogma dogma and then national interest but fairness?I dont think so.What beats me is how the nations voters fell for it yet again after Major and Thatcher?Labour loonies and Tory toffs-there has to be a better way?-oh! yes its called the Lib/Dems-the joke party!!!!

  • Comment number 89.

    79 - "I think that if I were Chancellor of the Exchequer and someone said to me "I will leave the country if you try that" my response would be "then you can leave now" and to escort them firmly and politely to the door."

    Your next step as Chancellor would be to put up taxes. Around 50% of all income tax is paid by the wealthiest 10% of the country. A back of an envelope computation leaves you around £129bn a year worse off. And that's before you consider the loss of VAT, stamp duty and so on.

    Ouch.

  • Comment number 90.

    New Labour's insight was that there was a set of economic policies that combined economic efficiency with social justice.

    I believe most people agree with this (except the few arguing for 100% tax rates).

    I think it's a shame that the consensus of a 40% higher tax rate broke down because that seemed, to me at least, an appropriate level to raise the most tax revenue whilst at the same time encouraging capital and businesses to come to the UK. It also gave stability.

    I understand the Treasury are monitoring the tax take from the 50% rate to see whether it actually generates any revenue.

    It can be appropriate to have higher levels as a short-term measure, which Labour originally intended. Now that Labour wish to make it permanent, and their more excitable supporters want to increase it still further, we have a deterrent effect even though Labour are not in power.

  • Comment number 91.

    The furore over child benefit is largely a media construction. Clearly some people lose out and that's unfortunate. But that's the case with most taxation. Fuel duties are unfair to people living in very rural communities and the media doesn't back them to loudly.

    The best means of prosperity for most people is to earn a fair wage within an environment of lower taxation where they can exercise choice over how they use their disposable income. Welfare should be used to support those in greatest need - not the masses.

  • Comment number 92.

    Has a bomb gone off in north London this morning? Or did a mystery virus spread through Hampstead silencing the apologists for the party formerly known as newlabour?

    Or is it the 83% support for the coalition's child benefit policy that has made them realise that, yet again, they are barking up completely the wrong tree???

    I think we should be told.

    It's a great time to be a tory...

  • Comment number 93.

    It seems to me that sections of the press have got these announcements out of perspective. My guess is that the Tories knew that the CB changes would affect homes with a single earner more than those with two. Perhaps they chose to proceed with the announcement because it will actually affect very few households, no more that 50,000 across the country, and that any means testing is an expensive way of implementing any benefit.
    As for those public sector employees on the borderline who assume that their pay will increase by 2013 we should remember that the personal allowances have been increased and are promised to rise to £10,000.
    Surely it is fair that higher earners lose the benefit if it means that those on low incomes keep theirs?
    Is it good policy to have systems which tax people so that they can receive benefits? Better surely to increase personal allowances and remove benefits where possible.

  • Comment number 94.

    For those advocating 100% tax, it has been tried before and large numbers of wealthy people left or restructured their income so that (under the rules at the time) they technically had a very small income.

    I believe Sweden also tried it for a while and business left.

    That was in a time before the internet, video conferencing and similar. It is now much easier to conduct business abroad.

    100% tax on income above £140K would lead roughly as follows:


    1. The premiership football clubs would collapse, all players would leave.

    2. The City professional services (lawyers and accountants) would emigrate to France - probably not Paris, maybe Lille and carry on business as before.

    3. Most large corporates would re-locate directors to abroad - board meetings would be by telephone.

    4. Goldman Sachs would leave UK (you can cheer if you like but they are one of the largest payers of corporation tax in the UK)

    5. And of course you are taking the risk that a lot of GPs only work for 9 months and leave the country for 3 months because there is no benefit in them working

    Then there are the large numbers of small businesses were the director does not take £150K home a year but would like to. I would imagine Poland would set up a welcome party for them.

    Personally I would go to somewhere like Latvia. Flat rate tax, beautiful country and in serious need of external investment.

  • Comment number 95.

    It must be the season of never ending stories...the same news over and over for days.

    I thought it was bad enough with the days of the Labour leadership and then the good ol' Dave story, will he or will he not?

    Now we've moved to our next story that will last for a good solid week.

    And now I feel like simply setting the Dad's Army tone....DOOMED! (sorry I can't do the accent on here)

    The past is gone, the present is falling apart and the future is dark indeed.

    Now where's that cloud with the silver lining?

    If the system is far too complex then why don't we just simply scrap the entire system and create something that is more in tune with the modern world that is simple to administer, benefits the needy and is value for money.

    Like that will ever happen.....

    although with all this going on, didn't the BBC do their poll a little while ago that showed that the majority of people in the countries polled believed that their governments wasted too much money and provided very little value in relation to the income they receive in taxes.

    Doesn't this state of affairs only reinforce the opinion that governments have very little idea of what they're doing far too often?

  • Comment number 96.

    Rockrobin7 @85

    "...but you are opposing a policy that has 83% support in the general public.....according to the yougov opinion poll asking the question."

    Nice spin Robin. The poll says 83% support the policy in principle...only 41% support the actual policy to be implemented by the coalition.

    I will not comment on the rest of your post, it being the usual hate-filled drivel...

    Its great to laugh at the tories...

  • Comment number 97.

    79 Radiowonk:

    " I cannot work out if you are serious or just being sarcastic. As individuals people in the "top 15%" bracket are not by definition particularly important to the economy, although the businesses they represent may be. In many cases they will not have businesses that they can take somewhere else. Reductio as absurdam: would you allow the "top 15%" to argue that "if you try to tax me at all I will leave?"

    ====================================

    Radiowonk, sadly you are very very wrong on this.

    The upper 10th percentile - i.e. the top 10% of income taxpayers contribute currently 45% of all the income tax revenue received.
    The top 1% alone contribute over 26% of all the income taxes paid yet account for only 12.5% of the total income earned (before tax).
    The top 25% of taxpayers contribute 72% of all income tax paid.

    The bottom 50% of taxpayers contribute only 11% of all the income taxes collected, this will be before receipt of any non-taxable benefit top-ups.

    Income tax accounts for 155 billion of government income - so as I can't find a number for the top 15% - I take the top 10% figure alone - they contribute 70 billion of income tax annually.

    What would 70 billion buy us ? a significant chunk of the NHS? Most of the education system or all the police and defense spending.

    The bottom 50% of tax payers by contrast contribute only 17 billion in income tax. What does that cover? doesn't even cover the transport department expenditure, nor come close to making a dent in the 190 billion welfare budget.

    Consider if you will also such patent absurdities often used in these arguments - I paid my National Insurance so I am entitled to xyz.
    Consider that NI is assumed to be payment for the NHS and Pensions as well as covering the welfare state: the total receipts from NI do not even cover the NHS budget nor the pensions bill and other benefits paid the elderly as their due for the NI payments.

    So becuase the majority do not actually appreciate where most of the money spent comes from they have a rather distorted view of their relative importance in generating it - the majority vastly over estimate their relative input.

  • Comment number 98.

    According to Andrew Pierce in the Daily Mail the delegates were told not to be seen drinking champaigne. However, the party's outgoing treasurer, Michael Spencer had a retirement bash. Pierce wrote:


    "There were no hair shirts at the dinner to mark Michael Spencer's retirement as Tory treasurer. Spencer entertained 40 guests including the PM in the fancy Edgbaston restaurant, Simpsons. He'd promised if the Tories won the election they'd be drinking Petrus, costing up to £1,800 a bottle. Though they did not get a majority, Spencer - who's worth £630m – was true to his word. The Petrus flowed all night."

    So Cameron says we're all in this together and then necks £1,800 a bottle champers...

    Nice to see some humility and sensitivity in these times of austerity...

  • Comment number 99.

    Radiowonk:

    Correction as I have muddled my numbers:
    having taken the top 5% number instead of the top 10% number in working out income tax take amounts by accident.

    Actually makes the figure even worse - top 10% alone contribute 85 billion income tax not 70 billion as noted.

  • Comment number 100.

    AndyC555 @ 79: "Around 50% of all income tax is paid by the wealthiest 10% of the country." Can you please provide a citation for this assertion so that I and others can see it for ourselves?

    Even if true the figures you suggest for the loss of revenue would only apply if they all did indeed vacate the country, and in reality I doubt if that would happen. As I suggested a lot of the higher earners are not in a position whereby they could be based overseas in any circumstances without physically emigrating. Can you see barristers, doctors and Local Authority CEOs queuing to do that? Some might, but I suspect only some.

    The point I was attempting to make is that high earners have no more right to try to blackmail the rest of us than the RMT / CWU / insert union name of choice do. I strongly suspect that those who think they have the right to permanently have their hands in our pockets (see my 84) would be outraged if their dustbins weren't emptied for weeks on end, or if their post didn't turn up for a week or two or the underground wasn't running because the various operators were on strike for a bigger slice of the cake.

    As a conservative voter I am utterly appalled at the way this has been bungled. As a taxpayer I am utterly appalled that those who already seem to be doing rather better than I ever did expect me to continue subsidise them in my retirement. I await kirklandhamlin's response to my 84, because it will be interesting to see how the original assertions in 73 can be defended.

 

Page 1 of 2

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.