As the Daily Mail (in house Tory rag) has pointed out 23/29 of the current cabinet (Lib Dems et al) are millionaires. Is this why they think that child benefit cuts don’t matter? Even Thatcher didn’t tinker with the universal principle behind this key plank of the welfare state. If at all anything were to have been changed perhaps a reduction could have applied to the very top rate taxpayers – maybe those in the Jonathan Ross bracket of earnings won’t notice £20 a week for the first kid and £13 for the siblings – but the £44,000 rate it cuts in at (it could be the dad earning that much with a stay-at-home mum partner or a single parent) is no longer super-rich, not in London at any rate. As the thisismoney blog puts it:
“There will be situations with families on just under £88,000 being able to claim it (two basic rate taxpayers), but another with only one partner earning £45,000 having it removed.”
The same blog points out that the reversal shows how the party blatantly lied before the election. When asked they said that child benefit would be safe under them. Today’s news bulletins have been replaying clips of Osborne promising to preserve it at the last Conservative conference (transcript here). Just like they lied about VAT. It’s pathetic of them to make the excuse that they inherited a worse than expected mess from Labour – all post-election indicators have shown the reverse.
It makes a mockery of their claim to be the most family friendly government ever. If they are looking for savings I hope they chop their ridiculous plan to reward marriage (cost = £1billion, the saving that the child benefit cut will net) although given their attacks on Ed Miliband’s marital status perhaps not. As it still has a couple of years to take effect, this could be for the coalition what the 10p band debacle was for Gordon Brown.