Thursday, 7 October 2010

Child Benefits changes

The ever-sharp Mark Wallace (yes, he of Tax-Payers' Alliance fame) seems to have sussed out the real reaction to the government's changes to child benefit eligibility, and believes they will turn out to be vote-winning.

Yes, there were slip-ups in the rush to get everything ready in time for party conference - and I have a strong feeling that was the real cause, especially after hearing David Cameron's rapid-fire list of the coalition's achievements during the last five months - but the public-at-large are hugely in support of the idea, even if the policy needs some tweaking in places.

As "Crash Bang" Wallace reveals, part of the disproportionate media attacks on the government probably stem from their own writers' incomes placing them into the affected bracket, which he found at Guido's site. Oh yes, a lot of those names we see in newspapers and in other parts of the media are paid very well indeed. It isn't just the Guardian's Polly Toynbee and her now-(in)famous villa in Tuscany, and the Mirror's chauffeur-driven Kevin Maguire living in London's Mayfair: it is widespread.

Five out of six ordinary people polled by YouGov recently are in favour of this benefits change idea, and there are sixty million of us. There is even some pressure for full means-testing of child benefit, but that would be expensive to administer so it would be better if it could be avoided via a set of clear and sensible rules/thresholds. Dizzy has his own take on this, incorporating some of the above (in his inimitable style, of course) and adding his own thoughts as well.

I don't think the views of a hundred or so self-interested media hacks count for much in the real-world context, and they ought to be treated accordingly. Money saved on those not needing it (if they were to be honest with themselves and us) will end up back with us all, in one form or another (hopefully reduced taxation), once the country's financial crisis is behind us.

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