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Child Benefit - do you agree that it should be reviewed and made fairer for all?

(22 Posts)
Tory8 Wed 10-Sep-14 13:21:53

I have started this thread as requested by Mumsnet to measure the response.

If you, or anyone you know, may now, or in the future, be affected by the changes to Child Benefit made last year, you may like to consider signing these Government petitions.

epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/55592
epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/65985

If you aren't sure what the changes to Child Benefit are, in a nutshell, if one wage earner in a family earns over �50K the family will lose all/some of their Child Benefit. The Government justify this by saying that those individuals earning over �50K are the wealthiest 15% of society. This may sound fair at first, until you delve a little deeper.

For example, this means that a household with two people earning up to �50K each (�100K combined) keep all of their Child Benefit. However, a household with the same income (up to �100K), will lose some/all of their Child Benefit, simply if one person earns over �50K. Bear in mind, that this might mean the second family earns just over �50K, nearly half the first family's income.

If the Government are happy to pay Child Benefit to the first family, then they should be happy to pay it to the second family too. This should be regardless of whether this comes from one or two wage earners.

Conversely, if they say that those individuals earning over �50K are the wealthiest 15% of society and should lose some/all of their Child Benefit, then families with a household income over �50K should also be considered as the wealthiest 15% of society and lose some/all of their Child Benefit too.

Whichever way you look at it the current rules regarding Child Benefit are unfair and should be reviewed.

sweetfluffybunnies Wed 10-Sep-14 13:31:45

Both signed, grossly unfair state of affairs. Thank you tory8.

BiggerYellowTaxi Wed 10-Sep-14 13:35:22

I think one of the issues with the families with two incomes, even two 'good' incomes is that in many/most cases they are paying out a lot for childcare each month. I realise that this also applies to many families with only one parent earning over the threshold but with the other also working but a lot of the previous threads on this topic have focused on families with one high earner and one SAHP. We will have two going to nursery when I go back from mat leave, our bill for childcare for 4 days a week will be £1300 a month! We are both applying for flexible working but this is far from guaranteed.

So I agree that it is currently unfair, but just looking at household income is also likely to be unfair. I don't think there is a fair way to distribute child benefit that wouldn't be incredibly complicated to administer. I'd be happy for it to go back to being universal as this seems the most fair.

Iggly Wed 10-Sep-14 13:35:29

Just make it universal again. How much was actually saved net by making it means tested? So after the extra admin headache?

We are in the salary range where the amount we get is tapered. I have to repay some via my tax return which I never had to do before. And I bet the Tories made it that way to put people off claiming. So I thought sod that I will claim just to make their lives harder petty

BiggerYellowTaxi Wed 10-Sep-14 13:37:43

Sorry, I forgot about single parents - it is massively unfair for single parents to have lost CB.

glenthebattleostrich Wed 10-Sep-14 13:41:18

I agree, all or nothing.

Our household income is £15k less than a friend of ours and we loose our child benefit because DH is a higher rate payer,

Hpparent Wed 10-Sep-14 13:46:45

I think the current restriction is a step on the path to removing it altogether. I agree with the poster above who pointed out that families with two parents on £26k are probably struggling with childcare costs. I think any attempts to say how unfair it is will lead to it ceasing or being lumped in under universal credit. The govt are unlikely to reinstate it.

NK5BM3 Wed 10-Sep-14 13:57:40

I agree. Our household income is tipping into that as I'm a higher rate payer (it starts from �32000!) and frankly, our childcare bills at one point was �1600 per month for 2 kids. It's now �800, but that's still a lot of money. For many of us, it's like paying a double mortgage.

NK5BM3 Wed 10-Sep-14 14:01:03

both signed

TheRealMaryMillington Wed 10-Sep-14 14:06:33

Yes, its a cock up

but

1. the language you are using here isn't helpful. It is hard to worry about people who earn £50k+ when so many people have to live on so much less
2. you are making more an argument to cut the to benefit people 2x <£50k salaries. be careful, it is the thin end of the wedge
3. why not campaign for it to be reinstated universally? much fairer
4. you are falling into the trap that has been cleverly set to divide the "squeezed middle"

so no signature from me

24balloons Wed 10-Sep-14 14:09:01

I've signed both, though there aren't many signatures so I doubt anything will be done.
To those mentioning childcare, that may be a valid reason in the child's first few years but what about when the child stats school. Isn't the child benefit paid up until the child is 16/18. Then the 2 family earning households will be far better off than the single earners in terms of net income and pensions accrued.

Tory8 Wed 10-Sep-14 16:16:46

Thank you for all your valuable comments. Please do remember to Share the e-petitions if you do decide to sign them. I was going to create a new e-petition but since mine would have been similar to these existing ones, I know mine would have been closed as a duplicate. So, rather than do nothing I thought it would be better to support these two in the hope that once we have enough signatures, a proper debate can take place, taking into account the opinions shared here. My feeling is that a child ALLOWANCE for families should remain UNIVERSAL in recognition of the extra costs and responsibilities of raising children. If it is to be a means tested allowance (for it is an 'allowance' in all but name - when they called it a 'benefit' it was always going to be at risk of being cut)then it should be based on total family/household income and not below the threshold set for tax allowances on childcare (currently set at £300K joint income).

Third party childcare in settings should not be supported over and above home based care within families. All families bear costs in care, not only those with childcare bills.

Tory8 Thu 11-Sep-14 13:24:29

To the person who said 'you are making more an argument to cut the to benefit people 2x <£50k salaries. be careful, it is the thin end of the wedge', I say, how you felt after drawing this conclusion from my post mirrors the utter disbelief that families felt when they first found out that they would be losing some/all of their Child Benefit, just because one of their wage earners are HRT. Those families have exactly the same household income as the families you speak of, that, quite rightly should not lose their Child Benefit. How can it be right that one is deemed able to survive without Child Benefit and one is not? AND to make matters worse for these families that lost some/all their Child Benefit, there are families with nearly double their household income that keep their Child Benefit just because none of their wage earners are HRT. Please keep signing and sharing.

TheRealMaryMillington Thu 11-Sep-14 15:05:44

That was me.

I agree it is not fair.

But I think your ire is misdirected.

Tory8 Fri 12-Sep-14 10:01:27

Thank you very much for your reply. Please excuse my ignorance but what does 'ire' mean?

In light of some of the comments made on this thread I am thinking about creating an e-petition of my own after 8th October, so it hopefully won't be closed as a duplicate. I would like to ask for Mumsnet members' help in wording this new e-petition. The purpose of this new e-petition would be to inform the government that its people are not happy with the current rules regarding Child Benefit. There are a number of e-petitions open at present regarding Child Benefit, each with a different, often contentious, opinion. I do not feel it is our responsibility at this point to come up with a solution without a proper debate. It is vitally important that the wording is carefully considered to encompass as many of the opinions as possible so it attracts as many signatures as possible.

Something along the lines of:
'We the undersigned do not agree with the current rules regarding Child Benefit and feel that an urgent and thorough review must take place to make it fairer for all.

Some of the opinions I have read so far are:
1) return to it being universal.
2) base it in household income and raise the limit from £50K to £300K.
3) limit it to 2 or 3 children, giving sufficient notice so parents can make an informed decision as to whether or not they can afford to extend their family without support from this benefit.
4) stop paying it to families whose children are not resident in this country.'

I welcome your thoughts, and will leave you with one of mine for any of you reading this thread, but not wanting to speak out for fear of losing your Child Benefit, if the rules are changed again. This is based on a true and recent story.

A family has two non HRTs and two children at nursery. They currently claim Child Benefit. The nursery does not have space for their children full time, so each parent works a reduced week to cover the shortage in childcare. The father uses salary sacrifice to pay for the childcare. The mother is then made redundant with little hope of finding a new job with the same pay and conditions. They decide to take the children out of nursery, cancelling the salary sacrifice and for the father to return to full time employment to help with the loss of income to the household. The father now becomes a HRT and the family lose their Child Benefit, despite having a substantially lower household income than before.

TheRealMaryMillington Mon 15-Sep-14 09:23:06

Ire means anger.

Campaigning for raising the CB limit from £50k to £300k? Protest sure ain't what it used to be. hmm

SquinkiesRule Wed 08-Oct-14 08:27:58

Some of the opinions I have read so far are:
1) return to it being universal.
2) base it in household income and raise the limit from £50K to £300K.
3) limit it to 2 or 3 children, giving sufficient notice so parents can make an informed decision as to whether or not they can afford to extend their family without support from this benefit.
4) stop paying it to families whose children are not resident in this country.'

This sounds sensible to me, especially 4 who ever thought that was a good idea should be shot.

OddBoots Wed 08-Oct-14 08:34:31

I like to options you list but I don't trust the government, if they have pressure to make it fairer they'll just scrap it all together and add something on to tax credits (that will disappear in a couple of years) and then no-one will have it.

PrivateJourney Wed 08-Oct-14 08:38:36

As I understand it Child benefit was introduced to give mothers some cash is fathers were earning but not providing for their families. i.e. spending it all in the pub before they got home on a Friday night.

Things have changed a lot since then, not least that we can/should no longer assume that mum is the primary carer or that she has no income of her own, so reform was necesary.

I think it probably does need to be means tested. (but so does winter fuel payment!) I really can't get my head around the fact that a family where one parent earns £60k and the other £20k doesn't get it and a family where both earn £45k does get it, although really there's something wrong if either needs/gets it IMO.

PrivateJourney Wed 08-Oct-14 08:41:40

Be earning £300k and still get benefits? shock

Are there many families whose children aren't resident in UK claiming? Would that actually make a worthwhile difference to the bill or is it a vote winning, stop the rotten foreigners ripping off this country thing?

Cherrypi Wed 08-Oct-14 08:47:26

It is unfair but I think taking it away from families which a joint income over 50k will be costly to administer. How about being able to claim back tax allowance for both parents if only one is working instead?

Tory8 Tue 11-Nov-14 14:19:55

Thank you for your comments. There is a new e-petition that you may like to consider signing and sharing. It calls for a return to child benefit for all children.

epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/71704

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