The flawed system that is child benefit
I’ve held off blogging about child benefit because I know it’s an emotive subject. It’s an emotive subject for me too and something I feel very strongly about. Since I was a child there has been a benefit there to help families, back then it was child allowance, now it’s child benefit. But the point is it was money for every child. Money to help towards the expenses that children bring and often the reduced income that a family faces.
Then the government decided that child benefit, a benefit for the children, which has been in place since 1946 was to be withdrawn from some families. I don’t think it was wrong of me to think that this was a given benefit, something that could be relied on. Yes, the government thankfully amended their initial decision but did not deal with the unfairness that is that single earner families are penalised in direct comparison with dual earner families. One person can earn up to £49,999.99 before their child benefit is affected but so can two people. It just doesn’t make sense to me. It also seems unfair that because my husband has worked his socks off to climb the career ladder, working long hours and under huge amounts of stress that we should be penalised further.
I’ve heard a lot about how higher earners don’t need or deserve child benefit, how my children are less deserving of help than others when in reality they are children just the same, we may earn more but we draw a lot less out of the system in many ways such as child tax credits, free school meals, help with uniforms, discounted activities etc We have to pay for all those things without any help. When you actually compare our income and expenditure with some substantially lower earners we are much worse off. This is what doesn’t seem fair.
I do think benefits should be reviewed but I think there are much better systems that could be implemented rather than paying child benefit as money I think the government could look at options such as free school meals for all or free swimming lessons for all etc. It won’t happen, but it would be nice if the government would look at the flawed system with the eyes of a normal working family and think about the ways that we have already been affected by austerity cuts and why we are feeling the pinch in so many ways already without the loss of child benefit.