New Leaf Blog
The row about cutting child benefit to higher rate tax payers is starting to hit the fan. Ironically, this is one of the cuts that I agree with. I currently receive child benefit for my two little ones, and our household is one of the ones well able to afford the cut. True, we are not on the boundary of £43,875, and we are certainly not struggling to make ends meet, so perhaps this is easy for me to say.
However, it strikes me as amazing that there was not such a fuss when it was announced in the government’s emergency budget that people who have been on jobseekers allowance for more than a year will have their housing benefit cut by 10 per cent from April 2013. This measure will only save £210 million as opposed to the £1 billion that the cut in child benefit will save. And unlike the child benefit cut, it threatens to make families homeless.
The government says that most people will not be affected because they will help people get into work. Easy to say… if it was that simple surely it would have been achieved already. Anyone with experience of working with people who are long term unemployed (and I am one of them) knows that the complexity of habit, confidence, role models as well as the financial incentives makes this a tougher nut to crack than just smashing people with a poverty hammer. And homeless people find getting a job even tougher.
So, well done for planning to cut child benefit. And for the rest of us, lets think about where the pain is really going to hit – because it is not going to be the toughest on Middle England.