I decided to write this blog posting, because of several conversations on Facebook and Twitter yesterday and today, and a Skype conversation between Livi and myself today about it all.
I'm talking about the new plans for the Child Benefit system here in the UK. It seems everyone has an opinion on the matter, and I am certainly no different!
Please have a look at this BBC News link if you can, and you'll see what I'm talking about (if you've been living on another universe and not heard of it!) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11470983.
At the moment, here in the UK, ALL families receive £20.30 a week for the oldest child then £13.40 for all other subsequent children. However, new plans by the Government are that from 2013 these benefits will be taken away from any family where one parent is earning about £44,000 or more a year.
This causes some issues on fairness though, as a single parent earning, for example £43,500 a year will get to keep their child benefit, whilst a double parent family with one parent earning £40,000 and the other £43,000 meaning a household income of £83,000 a year will also get to keep their child benefit. This is despite the fact that a single parent family earning that amount wouldn't get to keep theirs! Hardly seems a fair system!
I am actually in agreement that the plans to revolutionise the child benefit system is a great idea to save this country money it so desperately needs to. What I do not agree with however is that it is choosing to discriminate against people depending on whether they're in a joint parenting family, or a single parenting family.
I myself am a single parent, and I don't earn anywhere near the £44,000 sort of threshold. I am just stating that here, so that I do not get comments stating that I must get affected by the changes personally, because, going by what they are stating right now - I won't be affected.
The Government should be making this new Child Benefit system based on household income - not each parents income. If a family is getting £83,000 in their family pot each year then they can definately afford not to receive child benefit! Isn't that the point in what they're saying to us? That they want a Robin Hood sort of mantra? Take from those who can afford it.... then why are they going to give it to a household taking in £83,000 a year and not to a household taking in £44,000 - just because they've only one parent? That is just discrimination to the core in my opinion!
If the Government were to make the system based on household income, I would be in full agreement with their decision. I earn much less than the £44,000 cut off point, and even as a single parent family, I could live without the child benefit I receive. Earning £44,000 a year is a lot of money!! However, if they did change it to be on household income, I would probably agree it could be a bit higher still... this cut off point.
Of course there will be outroar - change always brings outroar, but times have changed... we need to move with the times and get this country back on track. Changes are vital. We must make savings and we must all realise this. There's cuts happening all over... because we have to make them - not because the Government just want to rake in the cash. We need the money.
I'm all for the Robin Hood Mantra... when I see any reforms that state that those earning the mega high bucks will pay more tax/lose benefits etc, then I am all for it. These households do not need child benefits as much as other households do, and they can afford to pay more tax than others can - so they should make these sacrifices. They'd still have their fancy houses and cars - and other familys may then be able to afford clothing for their children and hell, maybe even a rust-bucket of a car to help out in family life. Yes, this is an extreme I'm assuming here, but you get what I'm getting at here...
There's families out there earning a LOT of money and hell, they've worked hard for it, and made sacrifies etc., and yes they're rewarded with more pay for it, however I'll go back to what I've said earlier - times have changed. We need to move with the times! Just because, for example, people years ago knew that putting in 80 hour weeks at work and then more at home, could mean they could climb their ladders at work and get mega bucks and live a fantastic lifestyle etc., doesn't mean we should never get to tax them more just because back then - the rewards were more! Change happens people...
Change is happening everywhere you look.
This is just another example of change within our country. I'm a nurse within the NHS and there's changes happening in my work too. They're even re-jigging our shift working patterns to make it more streamlined to get the best out of the staff they have, as there's a hiring freeze... everyone is looking to save money, including the NHS of course! There's outcry there too... a lot of "how DARE they change my shifts! I've had weekends off for 20 years...!" However changes need to be made. There just isn't enough money coming into the NHS budget as there used to be, and they've got to look at saving money however they can. Just because someone has not worked weekends in 20 years, doesn't mean they can't make you do weekends now. People need to stop all this endless moaning - it won't change anything! Do you really think if you stomp your feet enough change won't happen around you? It seems a lot of people are in this way of thinking. Certainly at my work, we are getting input into the new shift patterns and rotas, even getting to make some ourselves and make suggestions etc. These moaners - they can either give their feedback and opinions to make a workable shift pattern and rota, with give and take from most involved, or just don't bother and moan instead, and then moan some more when the change does happen!
We, as a country, need to make savings! It's not going to make everyone happy - change never does.
However, you can't take away money from those in poverty or lesser off... they need all of their smaller incomes more than those with large incomes need all of theirs.
If I was lucky enough to be in a job earning £44,000 a year, they could gladly take away my child benefit! It'd not need it would I? It wouldn't mean my child wouldn't get a new school uniform that year, or that he'd not have food on the table at home - but it just might to those on low incomes. I can't see why those on high incomes can even justify moaning about giving a bit more to the country - would they rather they took it from a poor family? Would they rather the NHS, police force, fire services etc., get their budgets slashed even more than they already have? Would they rather the NHS was disbanded and made private sector and have to pay out money for insurance, and the poor people again suffer because they can't afford it? I just don't understand....
Everyone needs to do their bit to turn this country around. You may not like all the changes... but they're going to happen. However the Government needs to make changes such as this child benefit one less discriminating - this does seem to be the main issue with the changes regarding child benefit. I'd hope that if they made it based on household income there wouldn't be as much outcry as there is right now...
Listen to your people, new Government - if you want to remain in power.