No U-Turn On Child Benefit Cut

The Prime Minister has insisted the Government won't re-think plans to cut child benefit for higher-rate taxpayers, despite accusations of unfairness.

From 2013, the benefit will be withdrawn from any household with a parent earning enough to pay higher-rate income tax - currently £44,000 - costing one-child families around £1,055 a year and almost £2,500 for those with three.

That will mean a one-earner family with an income of £45,000 losing all its child benefit while a much better-off couple with an income of £40,000 each would keep the money.

Earlier this month, Labour's shadow work and pensions secretary Yvette Cooper said:

"The Government's unfair attack on child benefit is now unravelling. The Chancellor only announced means testing this morning, and already the Children's Minister has admitted that the thresholds need to be looked at again. They have clearly been taken aback by the reaction of parents across the country. "

But speaking exclusively to Heart at George Spencer School in Nottingham, David Cameron said the alternative methods of distributing the benefit would be too expensive:

"Of course there is this anomaly... the only way really you could address that is a very complicated means-testing system and I don't think that's a very good use of resources, so no, this policy will stand."

Since the Government's announcement, there have been reports further cuts could be on the way, for example stopping it when a child reaches 16, rather than 19, but the PM said that won't happen:

"I like child benefit, it's a good benefit. It goes to the mother. 85 per cent of families will continue to get it as they get it now and that's how it should be. All we're changing is that child benefit won't go to higher-rate taxpayers."

"I'm not saying higher-rate taxpayers are rich, but they are better off than many people, earning 15 or 20 thousand pounds, who pay their taxes at the moment so that families like mine can get child benefit, well that's going to stop."

Click below to hear the Prime Minister's full interview with Heart reporter Arran Bee...

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