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Child Benefit

Volume 951: debated on Friday 9 June 1978

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost to the Treasury of giving 52 per cent. of the proposed £4 child benefits to persons earning the national average wage and above, as opposed to giving child allowances to the same group of people.

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Social Security in which he estimated that 52 per cent. of child benefit payments are received by families on national average earnings and above—[Vol. 950, c. 53–5.] The cost of child benefit for this group at a weekly rate of £4 per child would be about £1,500 million. If the child tax allowances were restored to their 1976–77 levels, the total cost of child tax allowances for the same group at 1978–79 income levels would be about £875 million. This figure does not take account of family allowance.