Cuts Watch #58: The Future of Child Benefit
For some time, there have been rumours that the government planned to save money by means-testing Child Benefit.
David Cameron, in his speech to last year’s Conservative conference, promised not to do this and Philip Hammond repeated the promise just before the election. But, as the BBC’s Stephanie Flanders has pointed out, this promise did not appear in the Conservative Manifesto and there was a battle within the Liberal Democrat hierarchy over this issue, making the outcome even more uncertain.
The Conservative-aligned think tank Reform has advocated scrapping Child Benefit and merging it into the tax credit system, and today the centre-right Social Market Foundation called for means-testing. In an interview with today’s Times Frank Field, chair of the Prime Minister’s review of Poverty and Life Chances, argued for higher payments for younger children, balanced by ending entitlement for children aged over 13 or 14.