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Exeter parents set to lose child benefits

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: January 10, 2013

  • Official figures reveal at least 590 families in the city will have the payment reduced or stopped

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ALMOST 600 households in Exeter will lose child benefit under controversial Government cuts which have come into force.

Official figures reveal at least 590 families in the city will have the payment reduced or stopped.

In Tiverton and Honiton it is 850, Central Devon 1,040, East Devon 970 and Newton Abbot 660.

And the numbers are likely to be higher as these are only those that HM Revenue and Customs managed to identify and write to, ahead of the changes.

Under the reforms, families where one parent earns more than £50,000 will have their benefit reduced on a sliding scale, and will lose the payment completely once their salary hits £60,000.

The prime minister has defended the move insisting the reforms were "fundamentally fair", and that the top 15 per cent of earners needed to make a contribution to cutting the deficit.

But Labour has warned many families, which have not opted out of claiming the benefit, now faced having cash clawed back through complicated self-assessment tax returns.

Critics also point to anomalies where two parents both earning £49,000 would keep the benefit, while a household with a single-earner on £60,000 would lose all of it.

Child benefit currently stands at £20.30 a week for the first child and £13.40 for each child after that.

The change will cost families with three children and at least one parent earning more than £60,000 about £2,450 a year.

But David Cameron has insisted: "It's the right approach.

"If someone in a household is earning more than £60,000 they should not be receiving child benefit."

However, shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said: "It's just another example of parents and working families being asked to pay for the Government's failure to get Britain back to work.

"It's a big con to suggest it's the feckless and slackers being asked to foot the bill."

It comes as the Tory-led coalition and Labour square up over plans to cap benefits.

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  • Tony248  |  January 10 2013, 12:24PM

    I am unable to understand the stance of so-called New Labour here. Old Labour would have applauded the Tories for acting against type and NOT giving money to the rich; but it seems that they just have to raise some silly quibble. Someone needs to ask THEM what they did in all those years they were in power. Erm, NOTHING?? Sure, its a bit of an anomaly where the combined family income is not used as the means test, but I expect that will be corrected once the principle that this is a benefit to be given to those who need it, rather than everyone, is established.

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