THE GRAPEVINE! news, comment & a bit of gossip, Welfare to Work

Child Benefit – lets increase it!!

Mr Frank Field MP is considering taxing this benefit:  is he correct?


Child Benefit – £ per week
Rates Jan 2009 April 2010
Eldest/Only Child £20.00 £20.30
Other Children £13.20 £13.40

Other rates and allowances Tax Credit/Child Benefit

In the end it may be better to Tax it than axe it…..

Means Testing is also seen as a poor option because it would stigmatise the benefit resulting in those that ought to claim not claiming. In addition the administrative costs of setting up and managing this process would be astronomical.

Increasing Child Benefit

Far from reigning in the cost and expanse of this benefit The Make Child Benefit Count Campaign is calling for an increase in the benefit.

My view is that Child benefit should be increased to a flat rate of £22 a week for all children, which could be off-set by taxing this higher rate and removing eligibility to child tax credit (CTC) for better-off families. This would improve the incomes of poorer families and reduce child poverty.

According to IPPR this will lift 350,000 children out of poverty.

(see IPPR

Simply cutting the benefit is not the answer.


  1. I was having an awful day today, but then I remembered that the emergency budget would hit parents quite hard. Good, Look after your own blxxdy kids!!

  2. Firstly, we can never make the tax system fair, so can we make it fairer? whether you think it would be a nightmare to means test or not it does seem illogical that wealthy families get the same amount as those on lower incomes. I believe the child benefit originally was designed to put cash in the hands of the actual carer of the children at a time when men ruled the purse and even in wealthy families some women were left with very little money to feed and clothe the children. We are mostly not in that position and society has changed but children are still expensive. Income tax seems fairest with the good old fashioned tax code, however as a single mum with 3 teenagers on a modest income I have benefitted from the working tax credit to help me back into full time employment but have always really appreciated the extra monthly bonus of the child benefit which has helped us survive. Teenagers are more expensive than younger children so to reduce the amount at 13 is really unhelpful especially when it is so hard for teens to get any kind of work.

  3. I am a single mother with a 15year old child who is still at school I didnt chose to be a single mum my husband died 10 years ago of cancer so what help have I got I work full time pay full stamp and tax so why should I pay tax on child benefit and working tax credit those who get it for not working should be taxed and those on high income shouldn’t get any help. Perhap you should look into people cases before you make decisions. I havnt had an increase in salary for over 10 years I also have a mortgage to pay along with all bills by myself so think before you start taxing.
    Perhaps if we didnt pay for childern overseas just because there father or mother lives here we carnt claim benefits in another country so why can they., also perhaps you had better close the gates so no more imagrants come her for freebies.

  4. Is it me or is the idea of taxing a benefit rather ludicrous? The nature of this type of “benefit” is that it is given to everyone who has children, irrespective of their income (at the moment).

    If you tax it as an income you will end up taking most of it away from high earners, so why bother giving it to them in the first place.

    Then if it ends up being given to those only on lower incomes why tax it, as that surely defeats the object of paying it to them in the first place.

    Either way it doesn’t add up to anything remotely like a sensible approach.

    And on a wider issue, does child benefit actually lift any child out of poverty? That’s an entirely different and wider debate. Maybe that’s the one we should be having rather than tinkering with individual benefits – sort out the whole system. When you add up how much is spent on giving benefits and tax breaks to families it’s frightening, and it will never be enough. But is this challenge just too big for any government to really deal with?

    • In theatre, the most famous question to have ever been asked on a theatrical stage is: To be or not to be…,
      in Welfare policy possibly the most important question/s that needs to be asked has been raised by Stephanie!!

      Does child benefit actually lift any child out of poverty? and secondly, Why are we tinkering with Individual benefits when we ought to be sorting out the whole system.

  5. Taxing any ‘Benefit’ is surely a non starter, what on earth is the point of paying it out only to tax it i.e. bring it back in again. More jobs for HMRC perhaps?
    Means testing is appropriate and, as other benefits are already means tested, I fail to see how including this one would require a huge ‘ Astronomical’ investment as quoted.

    Go back to the old system where it was a child tax allowance and could be calculated along with the yearly tax allowances thereby requiring no extra staff to do the calculations, no seperate department to maintain the system and pay out the ‘Benefit’ That should produce considerable savings and create public sector job cuts.
    The rate of tax allowance could be graded against income so that those on the lowest incomes would receive more. Tha total amount gradually decreasing as income rises.

    • Peter I think you are right that the costs needn’t be astronomical, however once the bureaucrats and administrators get their Mittens into it there is no way that it will be as simple as it used to be.

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