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Child benefit changes - what do you think?

(1000 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 25-Oct-12 13:50:35

Next week, the Inland Revenue will write to 1.2m families about upcoming changes to child benefit eligibility. The changes mean that from next January, single-income families earning more than £50,000 per year will no longer be eligible for the full amount (currently worth £1,055 for the first child) - and those earning over £60K will no longer receive it at all.

The changes are controversial. Dual-income families who both earn just below the 50K cut-off - who have, in other words, a family-income of just under £100K per year - will continue to receive the full amount, leading to criticism that the changes penalise both stay-at-home mothers and single parents. Accountants are warning that new partners of divorced parents could also lose out. And the entire process is so complicated - with families forced to fill out complex self-assessment forms for the first time - that the Inland Revenue has reportedly postponed sending out the letters because they can't find a form of words that families will be able to understand.

What do you think? Will you be affected by the changes, and what will it mean for your family? Are stay-at-home mothers being unfairly targeted - or is staying at home a luxury which shouldn't be subsidised by the taxpayer? Should child benefit be universal - or should it be available only to families who are really struggling? Let us know what you think here on the thread, and don't forget to post your URLs if you blog on this subject - we'll be tweeting them over the next few days.

Xenia Sat 17-Nov-12 17:17:44

Men.
Let the men change the sheets and women do interesting work.

If you can't find a man to do that then yes hire someone. It is not menial. It is dull and low paid and anyone can do it but as I said I am lucky to find someone prepared to do it. It is not exploitation and one person is paid x for work and another y but we must root out sexism

Anyway we are waiting to hear from ali the answers to my questions - what is so special about her husband that he earns so very much more than she can and how come as ever it is that very sexist way round - woman who cannot earn much marries man who earns much more.

amillionyears Sat 17-Nov-12 17:37:35

"Men. Let the men change the sheets and women do interesting work".
Largely pie in the sky.

A lot of men would do just about anything before that. Including some very bad behaviour.
Women are going to be very inefficient at a lot of heavy duty work. Those industries in this country would all but collapse.
Yes, women could do better than men at some jobs.

IsabelleRinging Sat 17-Nov-12 17:37:46

I thought dull and low paid (work done by servants) is almost the definition of menial to be honest. I agree, paying someone to do it is not exploitation.

amillionyears Sat 17-Nov-12 17:38:52

I'll stop there, as that has not much to do with child benefit changes.

aliphil Sat 17-Nov-12 18:10:52

Yet your husband can. Why is that? Is he brighter than you are? Did he have better career advice? Were you brought up in a sexist home to expect low paid work? Did he work harder at school than you did?

I think he's brighter than I am, but there's not much in it, and going on grades I worked harder at school than he did! We each have a first degree and a further professional qualification (different fields). I didn't get much career advice and don't imagine he did either; there didn't seem to be much available. Sexist home, not really - my father does tend to sexism, but not over education or careers, and my mother has always been a career woman, in a field where there were significantly fewer women than men when she started out.

If I had a job, I would probably earn about as much in salary as DH does. However, the house comes with his job, plus there is much greater job security in his field than in mine. If I worked and he stayed at home, we would have to (a) move and (b) find enough for rent (or mortgage payments - but more likely rent) out of my salary which would not be significantly higher than his. If we both worked, we'd have to pay for childcare and my travel expenses (as I would most likely have to commute into London). At best we would be no better off than we are now with me at home looking after DD. So DH has his job, I do most of the childcare, and we share cooking, laundry, etc. And he does all his own ironing. grin

Xenia Sat 17-Nov-12 19:35:49

I just find it interesting how some couples end up in a sexist set up relationship and others don't. So is simply job security and the fact a house comes with his job - that is quite a big perk so you add the value on of free accommodation and it seems he earns more. If you would earn 10x or 2x what he does then he might have stayed at home full time and been on mumsnet saying that it would not pay him to work by the time he had taken account of childcare? So we are saying your salaries would be the same - therefore the comment that your salary would only be the same as childcare could equally apply to him but the key difference between you is the issue of a home with thej ob? Even that isnt' always wise because to suffer financial pain now but buy a place could mean longer term you are better off.

aliphil Sat 17-Nov-12 20:48:59

Did you actually read my post, Xenia? I am not the one who stays at home because I am female; I am staying at home because that is what happens to make financial sense for us at the moment.

I am well aware that buying a house would be a good plan in the long term, but we cannot afford it at the moment.

amillionyears Sat 17-Nov-12 20:56:27

I didnt think Xenias post made any sense either. Thought it was just me.

Xenia Sat 17-Nov-12 20:59:12

Yes, but I was trying to get into the cause for that beacuse it is the root cause for the lack of progression of women in the UK - that time and time again they earn less than the men so it doesn't make sense they work. Why are they earning less than the men? In your case you would earn the same as he does but his wage is in effect higher because accommodation comes with the job. If you both worked you might get a mortgage to buy somewhere. Anyway I was just probing into the sexist set up which means not worth woman working but worth it if man works and how that comes about in couple after couple on here in 2012.

losingtrust Sat 17-Nov-12 21:04:35

It is still a choice not to work. Many of my friends have earned little after traveling and childcare if they have to pay full-time nursery care for two children but they know the financial benefits will be worth it in maybe a couple of years of hardship until the oldest starts school. They knew that taking a break would affect their career much more. When mine were both babies, I worked three days a week rather than full time but that was my choice. My ex-husband would far rather I worked full-time as we event about the same. He was very anti-housewife and we both felt that having invested in going to university and getting professional qualifications. My decision did put a strain in the relationship. His mother had been a housewife and mine was a career women and he felt we benefitted more from that. On the one hand I felt pressurized to earn on the other hand when he decided family was not actually that important to him it was a god send

IsabelleRinging Sun 18-Nov-12 01:24:58

Xenia, you may find it hard to fathom, as you obviously can't relate, but many women have a strong maternal instinct and want to look after their children.

aliphil Sun 18-Nov-12 12:10:29

I don't think it is a sexist set-up in our case, because it's based on finance not gender. If we'd each decided to work in the other's field (possible based on abilities, though admittedly unlikely based on tastes), it might well be that I would have worked and he would have stayed at home; I know of some couples where the woman is in DH's field who have chosen to do this. Logically, if our situation is sexist, so is theirs; if theirs isn't, neither is ours. If a same-sex couple decide on similar financial grounds that one of them should stay at home and look after the child(ren), what would you call that?

losingtrust, I can understand working for not very much because it's good for your career, but I don't see the point if you're paying out as much as or more than you earn. But then I'm not especially career-minded; maybe if I were it would seem worth it. Or maybe if I had a job to go back to from maternity leave and could negotiate flexible hours, rather than having to start from scratch.

losingtrust Sun 18-Nov-12 13:30:13

Aliphil I am not criticizing your choice but you must appreciate that it is a choice. To say it is not a choice is where I have am issue because one of a couple has chosen to stay at home whether male or female and then moan about losing child benefit when their partner is warning more than 60k. I chose to continue to work after children despite the fact it meant getting a new flexible job after both children. J was made redundant on the day I went on maternity leave with dd but got a part-time job very quickly after so I am afraid for me the argument that you do not have a choice is my issue. If you would rather stay at home and look after your dd than that is great and I am sure she will enjoy your company but that is the choice that you and your family made. I do not agree that is the only thing you can do based on finances. Even on minimum wage the costs of childcare would be manageable with one child if the other partner had a good income and with a degree you would not be working for minimum wage. Now you will probably think why should I bother for a minimal extra benefit for three years and you may chose it is not worth the bother and would rather stay with your daughter but the key word is 'choose'.

losingtrust Sun 18-Nov-12 13:41:18

I do love it though when somebody brings up the maternal need to look after the children. I had it hence wanting to work part-time but if the only people that have a strong maternal urge are sham then there is an awful lot of working mothers (a big majority rather than the minority) who are going to feel very put out by that comment!!

amillionyears Sun 18-Nov-12 13:57:13

aliphil, "but then I'm not especially career minded"

How many women, and men for that matter are "career minded"?
Is it true that career matters a lot more to men on the whole, than it does to women?

In my own instance, I was career minded for 8 or 9 years, but gradually grew tired of it. Happily for me,at the end of the 8 or 9 years, it coincided with marriage and babies.So was able to leave where I worked, as DH has a business, and therefore, through choice,have never gone back where I worked. I do occasionally think I will, but I think I lost my drive for it all. And stories from friends and family members have not convinced me that I would want to venture back in a hurry.

Xenia Sun 18-Nov-12 14:03:42

Good careers for many women however even very very maternal ones like I would regard myself is a huge source of life long satisfaction.

it's possible that about the same percentage of women and men are not very career minded and would happily give the whole thing a miss but that women have traditionally had the option to get out of it when they have children. it would be lovely to see lots of sahp (because i do think it's a valuable role and they are a part of what makes the world go round in terms of don't worry i'll pick joey up on wednesday and he can come play at ours till you get back from work ((maybe the CM is ill or granny is on holiday)) and volunteering and all sorts) but an equal split in terms of gender.

i personally wouldn't have a child with a man who wanted to be the sahp whilst i worked though for fear of splitting up and him getting custody. then again i question that and wonder why because it might be rather lovely to be a parent every other weekend and one night a week grin

losingtrust Sun 18-Nov-12 14:18:26

Hi swallowed I can see the benefits of both but when push comes to shove would rather be the custodian parent although it would be nice if I did get every other weekend to myself. Unfortunately my ex feels Skype and four visits a year which I pay half traveling costs for is sufficient. Would I tell my dd to give up her job when she had children. In all honesty I would encourage her to seek a family career balance and it would be nice if her partner could think the same and share responsibilities . As most new jobs being created and maternity leave shared plus every employee now being able to ask for flexibility I see no reason why this should not be the case. Higher education and professional qualifications should allow our kids much more choice.

losingtrust Sun 18-Nov-12 14:20:29

Meant to say there are now more part-time jobs available and employers are seeing the benefit. They get a lot more pro rats from a part-timer than a full-timer.

losingtrust Sun 18-Nov-12 14:24:16

Pro rata not pro rats although it may feel a bit like that at times but many people including myself do enjoy their jobs but the kids will always come first and amazingly I only actually know two parents that do not work at all and that was a man and my sister but she will happily admit she chose it above her former career as a teacher.

losingtrust Sun 18-Nov-12 14:35:16

By the way I would also encourage to ds to do the same as dd, it is just as good for both parents to have time and would be better for them and the kids to have flexibility. I have worked with some men who have felt bled dry by their non-working spouse (some women too) and others that feel unwelcome at home if they go home early because it interferes with the routine. It sounds silly but having worked in a very male-dominated industry some men choose to work long hours as they don't feel they have a place at home which is really sad.

aliphil Mon 19-Nov-12 19:17:23

OK, losingtrust, I see what you mean. But given our finances and the very poor state of things in my field, I can only say it doesn't feel like a choice. Maybe I should go and do one of the menial jobs that allow people like Xenia to earn lots of money ...

pheet Sat 24-Nov-12 09:34:43

The income of a partner who is not the parent of the children should not have their income taken into account. Why should he be penalised for the children of another person. The absent parent should have his income considered in this case.
I receive child benefit to help look after my children. My partner and I both earn and both pay tax, but not he (and ultimately my children) will be impacted upon. Conveniently the Child Benefit office cannot access information today as they are having an update, so you can only get general information!

Tressy Sat 24-Nov-12 10:30:57

But that's always been the case for families receiving tax credits etc. If you live with a man his income is taken into account as it's based on household income. Poorer families have always had this.

LaurenCaddy Sat 05-Jan-13 16:19:40

After reading through and trying to get my head round this i'm still confused :/

Can someone help, me and my OH are expecting a littlun this March. Currently we're both on Income Support, as we finished Seasonal work. We live in a little seaside town you might call it, and seasonal work is pretty much what is around for eveyone.

My q. is, if this was to remain the same, and my OH returned to work full time for the 9 months of seasonal, but i stay at home and look after our little one as childcare costs are impractical, would we be effected? Would it be worth it because of the short amount of time being in work.
Or if i managed childcare from family and i go back part time and my partner full time, would this effect us? Again based on only 9 months there.

I don't understand still claiming it, then paying it all back on tax returns? That seems ridiculous, am i missing something on that?

Confused :s

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