The government after the recent Child benefit fiasco are now looking at a far fairer means of actually doing it, though whether or not they’ll decide to implement such a sensible measure remains to be seen.


All families could have their child benefit limited to their first two children in future under plans being considered by the Government.
The change is understood to be one of a number of options ministers could introduce as they attempt to rein in the welfare bill.
Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, suggested last month that unemployed parents could lose the right to claim extra benefits if they have more than two children.
He questioned whether families on benefits should continue to receive endless sums of money for every child they have, when parents who are working often cannot afford to have more children.
But the latest idea would apply to all parents and not just those out of work.
If introduced, it would not affect existing families.

Seems to tick all the boxes, it’s not retroactive, it’s therefore not punitive and it means only those who can afford a large family will (probably) go on to have one, though mistakes happen. It also means that those who choose to milk the system by having large broods and gaining a degree of financial independence at the cost to the taxpayer will have to find another way to do it.

Oh I’m sure that certain groups/religions might be up in arms that their safety net in place of effective contraception  is going to be removed, but that’s there problem, it really ought not to be the job of the state taxpayer to subsidise their breeding habits. I could see the point of child benefit being paid to help with the cost of bringing up a child and being paid direct to the main carer, so they weren’t dependent on the other partners ‘good will’ but it was never meant to be a substitute (like a lot of benefits) to absolving you of the need for at least one partner to seek work.

Until or unless we remove benefits dependency as being a viable financial option save only in the short term then the cost to taxpayers will continue to rise.

Ian Duncan Smith is right to be looking at alternatives, I only hope he succeeds.

12 comments for “Fairer

  1. Daedalus
    November 6, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    This has been so poorly handled from the beginning it beggars belief. It should have been stated from the start that:

    In 10 months time child benefit will only apply to the first 2 children for new borns, children already in receipt of the benefit will NOT loose it.

    Families with anyone in the 40% (or equivalent) tax bracket will loose all child benefit in 16 years time.

    This does not allow anyone to really try and produce a child to order before the cut off date for 2 kids, but also does not punish people with more than 2 now.

    Simples but the savings are a little slower to come in.

    Or in 16 years we have NO child benefit for anyone!!!


  2. Greg Tingey
    November 6, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    I p[roposed this, over 30 years ago …
    Max benefit for child 1
    Max benefit for child 2.
    After that – you’re on your own.

  3. November 6, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    It is a good idea, that’s why I think it will never happen.
    It will be discussed, fisked by the bleeding heart lefties and u-turned, just like all the other stuff the Conservatives have talked about since forming the coalition.

  4. November 6, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Agree with Daedalus here.

  5. James Strong
    November 7, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Also agree with Daedalus.

    A couple of weeks ago I was listening to Any Answers on BBC Radio 4 when this topic came up.

    I was shocked by two statements in particular.

    The first, that this was echoing China’s one-child policy and was a move towards a police state.

    The second that this was a racist policy because Muslims tend to have a lot of children.

    To me it is almost unbelievable that either of these conclusions could be drawn, and yet they were.

    Nobody made the point that it is simply wrong to take my money to pay for someone else’s children.

    • November 7, 2012 at 4:41 pm

      That’s because these people don’t think it’s wrong to take other people’s money, no matter what it’s going to be used to pay for!

    • Furor Teutonicus
      November 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm

      XX The second that this was a racist policy because Muslims tend to have a lot of children.XX

      THE best argument to suport it then.

      And WHEN will they get it into their thick heads that “muslim” is a bloody HOBBY, NOT a “race”?

  6. Loki
    November 7, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Why do we pay Child Benefit?

    The answer by many is to help those who choose to have children. Why?

    I have chosen NOT to buy a new car as I cannot afford it. What do you think the response by the taxpayer would be if, after making a choice to do something I could not afford, I asked them to financially help me. ‘Off’ and ‘fuck’ would feature in most replies.

  7. Tatty
    November 8, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Child Benefit isn’t “the problem” but by the gods it’s working well as the latest wooden spoon to stir up shit between us all.

    Simply having children…and with no obligations whatsoever to actually raise them properly…instantly entitles a person to , well, everything that our ever-so-benevolent State offers.

    From a plethora of financial incentives and social welfare benefits – including healthcare – to granting Priority Status to criminals over victims, ensuring Citizenship, preventing Deportation…and just about everything in-between.

    Children themselves are reduced to being assets, weapons and punchbags in both the scramble to grab what’s on offer…AND the lack of as a reason to deny…with factors such as age, race, sex and (dis)ability of the children themselves firmly in play.

    Extremely and deliberately complicated stuff that all serves to muddy the waters but the bottom line here is…if such an intricate web of “entitlements” did not exist then I don’t believe anyone would have anything to say about Child Benefit itself and certainly not to this extent.

    I find it incredible that so many people have been so easily convinced that £13.40 a week incentivises anyone to bring another child into the world.

    • November 9, 2012 at 5:35 am

      Yes, there’s lots of complaints about child benefit cuts. But as Tim Worstall and the commenters point out here, the numbers rarely add up:


      • November 9, 2012 at 9:06 am

        They don’t indeed.

      • Tatty
        November 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm

        Aye well, whether the middle classes can afford to lose Child Benefit is beside the point, from my point of view. Though for the life of me I can’t even begin to fathom why they would think it a good idea to try and fight their corner on the grounds of “need”. Don’t they know that “poverty” isn’t relative anymore and beware placing your trust in a politician to quantify and define “need”.


        Fact is they were entitled to it regardless of “need” and they should have left it there. No one even batted an eyelid about this particular benefit for decades. So why now ? Really ? This benefit was never a “welfare” benefit it was a “tax return” and applicable to all parents. That point has been deliberately obfuscated to serve an agenda.

        I suppose that the middle classes pay taxes is neither here nor there really when you consider that Child Benefit is the only example of truly “universal” benefit. However, it should strengthen their case for retention and especially when it’s purely because of the tens of thousands who don’t pay taxes…yet receive millions in other benefits…that they are now being denied.

        It’s not only “unfair” to withdraw this particular benefit from the middle classes it’s completely irrational and illustrates beautifully the politics of envy. Wind ’em up and watch ’em go. It’s wrong.

        This coming from one who watched her dear ole mam scrape by for years grateful for every penny of it while a better off aunt put it into seperate savings accounts for her kids to treat themselves every month using it as “pocket money”. Sure, we’d have liked to be able to do the same but the question of “fairness” never came into it.

        Bottom line was they had as much right to that money as we did and what they did with it was none of our damn business.

        Maybe that’s what’s really wrong today. Far too many people have far too much to say about how other people quite legally and legitimately live their lives and sometimes with very little right…though more opportunities than ever before…to do so.

        Seems to me that the bigger the picture gets the more we’re losing perspective.

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