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A million families will lose their child benefits by 2020

A million British families are about to lose their child benefit (a welfare payment for each child you have) because they’re considered too well off to need it.

What it means: What should government welfare be for? To help the poorest? Or to encourage behaviours the government thinks is desirable? Since the late ‘70s, the UK has given money to anyone living in Britain who has a child under 16 (or under 20 if they remain in full-time education or training). Parents or guardians are currently paid £20.70 a week for their oldest child and £13.70 for any younger children. The average family has two kids in it and therefore receives £1,789 a year.

Why should society (welfare benefits - like most government revenue - is funded by taxing people on their salary, home, stuff they buy etc.) pay people to have kids? Well, kids are expensive (they cost their parents almost £11,000 a year, according to the Centre of Economic and Business Research) so parents may need more financial help than their childless peers. And kids can be good for society as a whole, because when they grow up they become the workers we need to keep our business, government and social services chugging along and to pay the taxes which fund our old-age pensions. Plus, we were all kids once, right?

But child benefit is not means-tested (i.e. based on how rich you are, as opposed to universal, where everyone get the benefit regardless of wealth), which means richer people get the same amount as poorer people. Paying rich people welfare is often considered unfair and/or bad practice when the government is supposed to be semi-broke (see: that great big austerity cuts-cuts-cuts thing that’s been happening for the last few years).

So in 2013, the government announced that as soon as a parent/guardian earned more than £60,000 (double the average UK salary) they would stop getting child benefit, and anyone earning over £50,000 would get only some of it. Some people think that this definition of “well off” is unfair because it doesn’t take inflation (explainer here) into account. But 68 percent of Brits agree that earning over £60k makes you “rich”.

Read our explainers about tax and government budgets.

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Reader Comments

  • WhereAreTheVikings

    What a terrible, terrible shame. Western Civilization nurtured capitalism, and now capitalism is destroying it. And these young people seem to welcome the invasion of their homeland. The media and schools have been very efficient in wiping out all traces of blood and soil.

    • prollawalllynotahumanoid

      Capitalism isn’t the problem. It’s corrupt politicians taking bribes and kickbacks from Globalists and the Chinese.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        Maybe I should have said crony capitalism. Although Italians importing Chinese to make “Italian leather” shoes is not crony capitalism. It is capitalism, pure and simple.

        • prollawalllynotahumanoid

          That would be crony capitalism and globalism combined. They aren’t concerned with the affect their policies have upon their citizens, the health and welfare of their society and culture or their economy. What it isn’t is fair-free trade to further national interests.

          • WhereAreTheVikings

            I’ve always seen them as one and the same, but perhaps they need to be named individually, just to bring home the point.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        But now that travel is so easy and borders are virtually down through H1bs and the like, theoretically you can’t blame capitalists for the pursuit of cheaper labor, although I do heartily blame them not being more patriotic than that. Perhaps the emerging nationalism will force them to voluntarily do what they should have morally been doing all along, and that is employing business practices that preserve their countries and nationalities. The government should be doing everything it can to encourage that, to the extent that small government should do anything but guard the borders and strictly, drastically, limit immigration.

      • Henry Lam

        It is China with its corrupted mindset affecting the world.

        • prollawalllynotahumanoid

          No it is not. Capitalism is the fairest and least corrupt system of all.

          Socialism and communism is based on authoritarianism, coercion and police intimidation. It has and always will be rife with criminality, bribes and kickbacks.

          Corruption can be anywhere but it is the very basis of socialism and communism.

    • Henry Lam

      The government is too weak. They do not understand the mindset of communists and how they educate their people. Those communist people are only loyal to their country and could be dangerous. The immigration law should only accept those who accepted multiculturalism and taught from a democratic education system. This virus events clearly has shown how stupid to take China as a friend.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        The government is not too weak. Just weak-minded about some things.

  • Gabi Rodrigues

    For how many days can a country maximum close their borders to foreigners maximum? Like now, with the virus, everyone is using 30 days. Can it be more?