the benefits of child benefit

Now one thing I’ve found out over the last year is that children are expensive, and we’re only just starting out on the journey as parents. For those people who struggle to afford to live, then I think it is only right that the government provides child benefit to help them provide for their children in addition to their normal living costs. There has been talk abut limiting the amount of child benefit that any one household can get, as there is the view that some people are having children they can’t afford. But surely we as society have a duty of care to our children that they should be able to live out of poverty, so it can’t be right to punish the child by removing their support. Certainly find some way to make help people in this situation make decisions about having (or not) children so that they are responsible for them, but just taking away their benefit above an arbitrary figure seems wrong to me.

At the other end of the spectrum, those like the Duchess of Cambridge (who I wish all the best with her little bundle of joy when it arrives) do not need to receive benefit from the state in order to bring up their child. However, it all gets sticky in the middle as where do you draw the line? Wherever you put it there will be an  outcry as who has the ability to decide which families need it or not? And what does it mean to need it? It is not a very generous amount compared to the costs of clothes, food, toys, etc and certainly not compared to the cost of childcare!

Obviously basing any decision like this is fairest if joint income is taken into account, but the ability of the government to do any sort of  calculation like that on anything other than an individual is tricky. So we have the silly situation at the moment where a family with one “high” earner doesn’t get the benefit, whereas a family with two “fairly high” earners that don’t cross the threshold do get it, even though their combined income is more that the first family. I do wonder whether the money saved by this cut-back will cover the cost of having to enforce it?

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