Support for child benefits cuts for large jobless families
Filed under: Your Rights
However, a poll seems to show a massive majority of voters - from both left and right - support the idea.
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The pollThe poll, reported by the Daily Mail, revealed that 76% of people back the calls to limit child benefit for jobless parents to the first two children. Meanwhile, 88% supported a reduction in the cap on the total benefits an out-of-work family can receive - below the proposed £26,000. And 74% said that those with children over the age of three should be expected to work at least 15 hours a week.
As for proposals to force able-bodied dole claimants to work for their cash, 86% were in favour, while 90% said that those who weren't working should be made to improve their levels of numeracy and literacy.
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And 91% said that those who don't live in Britain should lose their benefits all together.
One of the most striking results was that 91% of all respondents supported the idea of a Universal Credit to ensure working always pays - including 87% of Labour voters.
Fair reflection?It certainly shows a groundswell of opinion opposing a generous benefits system at a time when so many working families are struggling. It was a snap poll of 2,000 people, which would indicate a big enough group to be representative. It was, however, conducted for the Conservative Party so there is a question over the framing of the survey.
There are certainly plenty of groups who oppose some of these moves. Those who work with families who would lose child benefit remain concerned. The Child Poverty Action group highlighted that during the election campaign Cameron made a pledge to "make Britain the most family friendly country in Europe".
Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty action Group, said: "If this is the future direction of welfare policy it leaves in tatters the PM's pledge to be the most family friendly government, to make progress on child poverty and to ensure the greatest burden of deficit reduction falls on the broadest shoulders."
"It makes no sense to try to drive a wedge between the working poor and families out of work, when the reality is that families with children move in and out of work due to insecure and temporary work - they are the same people just at different times in their life."
CSAN, the social action arm of the Catholic Church in England and Wales agreed, saying: "Child benefit exists to provide for the basic needs of children; imposing limitations on the basis of family size will inevitably deprive children from larger families of essential support."
HyperboleGarnham adds that the examples Cameron used in his speech were spurious. He claimed that a hard-working family with four children on £24,000 at the moment receives less than a family of the same size on benefits. She points out that assuming childcare costs of around £300 per week, and rental costs of around £300 per week, the working family would receive more in benefits in total than the benefit cap of £26,000 - and hence be receiving more support than the family without work.
But what do you think? Is this a necessary curb on irresponsible parenting? Should families be forced only to have the number of children they can afford? or is this a very risky approach to vulnerable families? Let us know in the comments.