David Cameron has today accused Ed Milliband of defending the rich, as a result of Labour’s defence of universal child benefit.But the child benefit cuts are not a cut for the rich. They are a cut for richer families - and they come hot on the heels of an enormous list of benefit cuts that will hit the poorest families in the country far harder.
These include: freezing the value of child benefit for three years; linking benefits (including carers allowance) to CPI; cutting the Health in Pregnancy Grant; cutting the Sure Start Maternity Grant for all but the first child; significant cuts in Housing Benefit – which the DWP have admitted will affect families with children the most; a cap on the overall value of benefits an out of work family can receive; an increase in the rate at which Tax Credits are withdrawn as a member of a household enters work; a £545 cut in Tax Credit entitlements for the poorest by withdrawing the Baby Element; the cut in the Child Trust Fund (including the cut for disabled children); an introduction of a Tax Credit disregard for falls in income (so those who lose their jobs will recieve less). And there are more.
The entire package of Coalition cuts that affect children needs to be opposed. The Child Benefit cuts are wrong – but focusing on them exclusively only helps the Coalition to provide ‘progressive’ cover for a wider assult on the incomes of the poorest families.