New Child Benefit Rules

March 02, 2012, 1:03 PM GMT+0

68% think new child benefit rules unfair, 56% support extra tax allowance for married couples

When considering the fact that married couples with combined incomes will be exempt from new child benefit laws, our poll shows that over two thirds of the British public feel that this is unfair for single parents. In light of this, over half of Brits support reintroducing an extra tax allowance for married couples.

From 2013, the coalition government will withdraw child benefit from families in which one or both parents are higher-rate taxpayers. The new rules state, however, that child benefits would still be payable to families with two basic rate taxpayers, even if their total combined income exceeded the income of a single higher rate taxpayer.

  • 68% believe the new rules are unfair
  • Just under a quarter of Brits (24%) say the new rules are fair
  • 56% support reintroducing extra tax allowance for married couples, 28% oppose
  • The majority (64%) say they support the government’s original 2010 decision to abolish child benefits for households with a higher rate taxpayer, 25% oppose it

The new measure will affect individuals above the 40% tax rate, that is, those who are earning more than £42,475 a year. The proposal means that should a couple exist where both spouses were employed, they could potentially earn £40,000 pounds each and still receive child benefits. But families with one main earner on any amount greater than £42,475 will see their benefit stopped.

Single parents hit harder

The decision was met with scrutiny after it emerged that cuts would hit single parents much harder than two-parent homes. Caroline Davey of Gingerbread, the single parent charity, told the Telegraph: “single-parent families depend on only one income and less than half of them receive child maintenance. Childcare is very expensive, and they must pay it all out of their one income.”

Critics have also warned that these reforms are not just, and may lead to the ultimate collapse in middle-class support for the welfare state.

Prime Minister David Cameron defended the cuts back in 2010 during an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, saying he knew the decision would not make him the most popular, but it was the “right move” and it “made sense.” Mr Cameron pointed out that while people on £44,000 were not rich - they were "a lot better off" than those trying to raise a family on £25,000 a year.

"In the spending round, we are having to make difficult decisions. This is £1bn I don't have to take off the education budget.”

See the full results of our poll (page 4)