Monday, October 04, 2010

Schmancellor's child benefit cuts

Listening to George Osborne chunder on about how taking Child Benefit away from the 40+% tax bracket is about all sections of the community mucking in and taking the burden makes me sick. Millionaire baby baronet.


On the surface it looks not an unreasonable policy, but it's totally cock-eyed. They can't be bothered to properly means-test it, so dual income families who are both under the threshold will still be able to claim, yet if one person is earning just above it (but could be the sole earner), they won't be able to claim it. This means stay-at-home mums, that the Tories supposedly love, could lose it if the husband earns approx. £44 000 - while a pair of working parents can theoretically earn up to £80 000 and still get it! It's loopy.

It looks like another policy that disproportionately affects women & children. It was protected money intended for children. What if it's the only money the woman has free access to? We aren't gone from the bad old days of housekeeping money, for some families.

And is the home responsibilities protection (on National Insurance) going to be affected by this move? Currently stay-at-home parents get some of their stamp paid for home responsibilities, and that protects their future. Is that going too for those people affected?


ellie said...

I don't think they thought this one through, as you say it's not based on family income just whether one person is a higher rate tax payer - very skewed.

As you say, child benefit was always paid to the mother - so that golden rule is being slashed.

The other thing I think is that this will be expensive to administer because currently child benefit is not based on tax code - they are going to have to introduce new admin to deal with it. All this at the very time they are cutting civil service jobs... Much of the changes they are making are so radical they are going to cause havoc within the admin side at a time when it is overstretched and soon to be more so.

Very good point about HRP, I hadn't thought about that - what a double blow that will be for some. There was a letter in the Guardian from a widowed mother higher tax payer pointing out she would now not be getting £5000 widowed parents allowance as that was dependent on child benefit receipt, so I think HRP must be the same.

Still, as long as Trident is ok eh? ;-)

Mephitis said...

Everytime I read anything about these cuts it makes me depressed and angry. :(

At least Trident is to be on hold for five years, I gather today. As opposed to nothing but pain for the poor. It just seems very ideological and not based on what people *need*.

ellie said...

It depresses me too Mephitis, and what depresses me most is the way it is playing on the jealous side of human nature. By that I mean the continual perpetuating of the idea that other people are getting far too much of something or other, be it a pension, child benefit etc. I can't help but feel a good part of is 'divide & conquer', to as you say, ideological ends.

Mephitis said...

Oh totally, that's exactly it! The appeal to jealousy is what gets them by so far :(.