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Families to get letter on child benefit changes

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 30, 2012

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Letters will be arriving at 100,000 Westcountry households from today warning families that they may lose their child benefit.

Under a controversial decision, families will start losing money on a sliding scale if one parent earns more than £50,000.

The handout will be axed completely if a parent brings home more than £60,000 a year – a family with three children could be worse off by about £2,450 a year.

However, if both parents earn £49,000, the child benefit payments will not be touched, an anomaly that has angered some Tory MPs, despite the scheme's introduction under the current Government.

The Office for National Statistics says 7,884,780 families in the UK received child benefit in August last year – up from 7,248,336 in 2003 – and they had a total of 13,721,180 children. There were 621,605 families in the South West, a rise from 570,735 in 2003.

Just under 265,000 of the families in the region have one child, 244,000 have two, over 70,000 have three, just under 16,995 have four youngsters and 5,310 have five or more.

Child benefit is £20.30 for the first child and £13.40 for each sibling, and the Tories say around 15% of total recipients will lose out, which would be more than 93,000 in the South West.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg admitted yesterday that it was an "excruciatingly difficult" decision.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "It's very difficult to justify continuing to pay child benefit to the wealthiest 15% of families."

The changes take effect in January.

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  • robocop1982  |  October 30 2012, 6:52PM

    You think we would of worked out more advanced ways of living by now other than money. If we can have a system based on money then that proves that is just one possible system of many different ways. TO think this will most likely be for ever or until humans are wiped out. ITs sad that the rulers are choosing the way of life for everybody on this planet when there are many ways we could exist. It's almost like being denied individual thoughts and ideas and ways of living. This is modern day slavery and forced labour. If we all joined forces we could wipe this government out. if we all got together in many millions are destroyed them. LEt us destory the rulers of the world together. together we can be much. why don't people stand up to them. lets get together and form a clan of several million and destroy them.

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  • nicold  |  October 30 2012, 5:14PM

    Why should the government pay anything to anyone, just because they have children? Don't have children if you cannot afford to keep them! Maybe exceptions for the very poor! Implementing Means-Testing can cost more than just handing out a fixed sum!

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  • Mustafachat  |  October 30 2012, 4:44PM

    Tell you what George lets give them "plebs" something, when we are down to our last million perhaps we will get help, "yes, ok David"

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  • KJHXXX  |  October 30 2012, 4:37PM

    I think it is fair and reasonable to not pay child benefit for those that are high earners, but the anomaly whereby a couple earning 49k each not affected but single income of 50k is affected is simply not fair. In the case of a single bread winner why can't a couple 'pool' there tax free earnings with a married allowance and claw back child benefit through a joint family income tax return? Makes sense to me. Cruey - completely agree. In fact (now this won't be popular!!!) I'd go further and say that ALL benefits, including pensions, should be means tested and not paid to those with lots of money. Universal non means-tested pensions or benefits cannot be sustainable. Cue the 'we've earned it and paid into it' comments....:)

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  • Cruey  |  October 30 2012, 2:24PM

    Now then ..........let me make it clear I am a pensioner..however are they going to be doing the same to pensioners regarding pension credit..... also it makes me so very very cross that ALL pensioners.regardless if they working or not get the winter warmth allowance and furthermore what about those REALLY wealthy pensioners that live in their massive houses. they get it ......... and then we have those that fly off to live the life of Riley abroad for the winter .... they also get ... perhaps they put it towards heating their swimmimg pools I am some times ashamed to say I am a pensioner... no I do not live in a big house . yes I worked and saved what I could for all my life......... please lets be fair here .......

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  • toffer99  |  October 30 2012, 11:55AM

    The letter will say, "Thank you for voting Conservative, however I'm sorry to have to tell you..."