Here is my Sunday Morning Live pal Angela Epstein on the pending welfare changes to child benefit…
For nearly 20 years I’ve been on benefits. Despite earning a good salary as a journalist and broadcaster and being married to a chartered accountant, the Government money lands in my account each month. I accept it happily, without so much as a twitch of embarrassment. I’m not alone. I have friends who are lawyers, doctors, pharmacists — all highly paid professionals — who are also unapologetic in their receipt of these state handouts. I’m not talking about a tax loophole or state backhander that allows the streetwise to filch from an already over-committed welfare state. I am, of course, referring to child benefit.
The background to all this is that our CONSERVATIVE led (Ahem) Coalition Government is removing child benefit from households with an annual income of £50,000 or more . A little bit of class warfare and discrimination and Angela raises a valid point when she adds…
Removing child benefit from higher-earning families rests on the point of discrimination: earn more and the State will give your children less. Yet the State is already squeezing our children every which way it can.
University tuition fees for our eldest, now a medical student, are a massive £9,000 a year. And what’s to stop discrimination bleeding elsewhere, dismantling other universal benefits?
Take state education — which for the moment (at least) is free. You can almost hear them clucking over their calculators in Whitehall: if one pupil’s father is a dentist and the other has a badly paid job, should education be free for both?
And why should a GP treat both the child of a road sweeper and the child of a City banker for nothing, when the latter could so clearly afford to pay?
Why? Because my children are no different to yours and child benefit is as much mine as it is yours. To cut it is a direct strike on parents who have done nothing more than work hard for their families, and pay their taxes.
Silly me for thinking all children were equal
Angela is right and also wrong. Of COURSE Government is actively discriminating against the children of successful parents. She is as entitled to her “universal welfare” as anyone else and the fact that it is being taken is – at one level – a disgrace,
HOWEVER, she is also wrong.
Households with £100,000 a year income should not require Welfare handouts. But the problem lies in the construction of the system. It is Universal.
It should not be.
It needs radically changed, and returned to the original purpose – namely a modest safety blanket for the MOST vulnerable. End of. People like Angela should see their tax bill FALL as the State stops taking excessive amounts of money from them to fund the current bloated inefficient Welfare system. So the solution is a much reduced Welfare system, less taxation and empowering people to look after their own familes WITHOUT the State getting involved.