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Politics

Nick Clegg has lost the plot

53 replies

LilyBolero · 20/09/2010 12:26

He has been reported as saying he would be "happy to forgo child benefit", the inference being that others should as well.

Sounds good. But the threshold that has been bandied around is 26k family income.

Clegg is on a salary of 130k+. His wife has been reported as earning 300k+. So with a conservative estimate of family income of 400k+, how can he POSSIBLY suggest that someone with a family income of 26k should be happy to give up child benefit.

If they scrap it, we will lose £250 a month. Not much when you have a family income of £400k, but to ordinary people, that is HARD. And maybe it is inevitable, but to suggest we should be pleased to hand it back, because Clegg would be happy to, is bordering on madness.

OP posts:
nikkershaw · 20/09/2010 12:27

i think people will march on the streets if they did this - why is it children and women are suffering first under this new government

FranSanDisco · 20/09/2010 12:30

Well I'll have Nick's if he doesn't want it.

alemci · 20/09/2010 12:33

26K is nothing particularly if you live in London and mine is used for my children and i feel we do need it.

why not limit it to 4 children which would save money and not pay it to children who don't live in britain.

lucky1979 · 20/09/2010 12:46

Can you post the full quote, or a link to where he has been quoted please?

sarah293 · 20/09/2010 12:53

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Tortington · 20/09/2010 12:55

did he suggest or infer it really?

i think this needs some context before we all wail about with knickers on our heads

Chil1234 · 20/09/2010 12:57

Someone on a £400k saying 'I would not be happy to forego child benefit' wouldn't be very popular, on the other hand. Agree... let's see the context.

Litchick · 21/09/2010 09:08

I think that's the point.

I would be happy to forgo it. Actually, I don't even know if I get it, or how much it is Blush etc.

But that's not me saying anyone else shouldn't get it. Not the same thing at all.

TheHeathenOfSuburbia · 21/09/2010 09:21

Wouldn't it be more sensible just to roll it in with the tax credits system, and bump those up a bit? Then you could taper it off for higher incomes like TCs do.

Seems a bit of a faff to analyse everyone's outgoings and expenditure in one department, and then assess them through another department to see if they're entitled to CB or not. Mind you, I suppose that would look like 'abolishing child benefit', which will go down like a bucket of cold sick...

bullethead · 21/09/2010 12:25

Oh dear...it's he Child Benefit that just about keeps us afloat.
Why can't they just claw back all the tax avoided by big companies? They know EXACTLY who's doing it. Vodaphone owe 6bn in tax alone.

LilyBolero · 21/09/2010 13:43

There are a few key points about child benefit that are ignored by the politicians.

It is a universal benefit, because it is generally paid to the mother. This may be her only income, even if her husband has a huge income. She may still have no money at all to pay for essentials for the children.

Claiming child benefit protects the old age pension for women staying at home to look after children. As they are not earning, they are not paying NI, and without the protection of the child benefit, their pension payments will be cut, because they won't have enough qualifying years.

OP posts:
lucky1979 · 21/09/2010 13:53

"It is a universal benefit, because it is generally paid to the mother. This may be her only income, even if her husband has a huge income. She may still have no money at all to pay for essentials for the children"

I agree with your second point and there would need to be some changes to NI payments, but I don't think it's fair that these alleged husbands with a huge income are allowed to stint on their own children and let the state pick up the tab, and for this to be used as an argument to let them continue.

I'd still like to see the context of the original quote if you are able?

LilyBolero · 21/09/2010 17:13

That is true lucky, husbands shouldn't be able to, but I believe that was the origin of child benefit, and I guess there isn't any way of forcing a husband to hand money over to his wife - he can argue that he is paying for the house/food etc, but still leave her with no disposable income at all.

I also think child benefit goes some way towards recognising that income is not the same as DISPOSABLE income. There was an interesting tool on the IFS website, that calculated your centile position, based on income, number of children/ages of children and Council tax payments. Our income is much higher than my brother's, but because he is single, no children, he is WAY further up the centile chart of disposable income. Our income is above average income, but we are below average for 'standard of living' based on this calculator. And, although I do accept that having children is a lifestyle choice, on the other hand, the country NEEDS people to have children, it simply will not function otherwise. We already have an aging population, and there is going to be a crisis about pensions, because when our kids are working, there will not be enough workers to pay the pensions. So it's not acceptable to just say 'it's a lifestyle choice', because it is ESSENTIAL that people make this choice!

I did look for the original quote - couldn't find a whole one in context, will have another look - I do think that there is a general problem at the moment when the PM and dep-PM are both ABSOLUTELY loaded - they are both incredibly wealthy - but are bringing in huge cuts, amid a culture of 'We're all in this together'.

OP posts:
Northernlurker · 21/09/2010 17:18

I think this is the calculator www.ifs.org.uk/wheredoyoufitin/

It is interesting.

alemci · 21/09/2010 18:23

i always find it frustrating as the government want to make cuts at say 26K. They are never interested in your outgoings i.e. mortgage, council tax etc, only what you earn on paper. they need a much higher cut off rate or limit it to your first 4 children to discourage people from having children they will not pay for.

Chil1234 · 22/09/2010 07:09

4 children?... I think there's an increasing movement to get all of these benefits and credits scaled down so that once you get past a couple of kids you've effectively said 'I'll support the next one myself'

They can't take disposable income into account or the paper-trail would look like the Domesday Book. You can't penalise one family for making decisions to live more cheaply and reward another family for opting to spend up to the wire. Tax banding comes in at fixed numbers whether we agree with it or not. Tax credits do the same.

Sakura · 22/09/2010 07:19

LIly, having children is NOT a lifestyle choice. That's just something the government and society tells people so they don't have to help mothers and children and to blame women for the pay gap, and the feminization of poverty... etc ad nauseum.

Without children there would be no customers, clients or electorate


It is NOT a lifestyle choice

alemci · 22/09/2010 08:53

I suppose not chil but this is when you get the problem of people on welfare being more affluent than working people who have to pay for everything. this cannot be right.


that is why i resent Nick Clegg talking about cutting cb and tax credits off at such a low figure say 26K when the people are probably having to pay mortgage, council tax, bills, school trips. They never take into account the area people live in and the cost of housing.

i can see what u mean about the doomsday book papertrail though:)

orsinian · 22/09/2010 09:56

"I find it odd that people on multi-million pay packages from the city get child benefit. That's patently silly and patently unfair," he says.

From www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/sep/18/nick-clegg-liberal-democrats-spending

I'm increasingly finding that I you have to be wary when someone flounces about the anticipated cuts - trying desperately to panic the nation into thinking that some ludicrous slashing of some benefit will take place.

The Spending Review hasn't been released, and won't be for another 5 weeks. Everything is speculation and nothing more than speculation. Most likely the spending cuts will be be macro in nature; that is local authorities will find how much they get and will have to organize their budgets accordingly, government departments will get the same.

When it comes to child benefit, what's the problem here? A politician who has a good income, has said that he would willingly give it up. If I had that kind of income, I'd do the same.

"the inference being that others should as well." How do we assume that this means others who don't have his kind of income?

When did government policy become ascertained through 'inference'?

Why is it something that sounds ostensibly laudable is suddenly determined to be beyond the pale?

How can anyone possibly think that it is fair that people with an income of 400k+ should therefore receive child benefit?

(There, there's an inference!)

theyoungvisiter · 22/09/2010 10:07

Argggg I have said this on other threads but I am completely against cutting child benefit.

Universal benefits are a GOOD thing.

They are among the cheapest and easiest benefits to administer, they have low fraud rates, they have the highest takeup among disadvantaged groups, and they have been shown to have a very positive affect on how people feel about the tax and benefits system.

Why not just use the existing tax system to tax the benefit back off people who don't need it? Why fanny about means-testing the bottom end at HUGE expense and to the disadvantage of the poorest?

bamboostalks · 22/09/2010 10:13

Nick Clegg has turned out to be a big disappointment all round. I think he should just declare himself a tory and be done with it.He is quite deceitful.

herbietea · 22/09/2010 10:20

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BeenBeta · 22/09/2010 10:21

theyoungvisiter - totally agree. All benefits should be universal, equal for everyone and no means testing but set at a level that properly sustains life and encourages work.

I am beginning to lose my pateince with the coalition. Talking about little bits of iddy biddy fiddly cuts here and there like this will not do the job of cutting the deficit.

Am begining to feel like they will just back off and talk tough but hope to muddle through because making hard decisions is just too difficult.

I am quite sure that I could identify a full 25% cut to the Govt budget in an afternoon and no one would notice any impact on frontline public services. I just know they will not be that brave - which intensely annoys me.

Lauriefairycake · 22/09/2010 10:27

Having children is a lifestyle choice for some and a biological desire for others (and there are other reasons personal to individuals).

This country does not need us to have children. We can satisfy all our societal needs by having immigration - there are plenty of people in the world to run this society.

I really question it when people say that they are doing something societally useful by having children. We're not - we have children to fulfill our own desires and not because we want them to clean the toilets of the future.

orsinian · 22/09/2010 11:17

That's a truly scary prospect; a country without children.

Reminds me of P.D. James novel (and later film) The Children of Men. Without children society gradually collapses, with no purpose or future. Instead we simply exist and consume.

I have seen walled estates in the US where children aren't allowed to play in the streets.

I have heard and read extremist environmentalists say that humans should simply stop producing, let the Earth return to its former state, let the human race simply die off and depart.

I've seen a 'radical' feminist say that men and women only have children so they can molest them (in satanic rituals).

Yet annoyingly for many, women still keep on having babies.

I don't think the Coalition will back a call for universal sterilization and a vast increase in immigration...whatever the deficit!

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