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Child Benefit

Volume 20: debated on Tuesday 16 March 1982

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asked the Prime Minister if she will estimate the percentage and weekly money reduction in the real value of child benefit payable in November 1982 compared with the combined value of child tax allowance and family allowance in 1955 for a second child aged 12 years in a family paying the standard rate of tax.

The comparison which my hon. Friend is seeking to draw is not an apt one because although in 1955 family allowance was not paid for the first child in a family its payment for second and subsequent children undoubtedly contributed to the support provided for the family as a whole. It would therefore be reasonable to apportion the family allowance paid to a two-child family in 1955 in part to the support of the 12-year-old second child. On this basis the 1955 child support, at November 1982 prices assuming a 9 per cent. increase in the retail price index in the 12 months up to that date, would be £7·48, compared with child benefit of £5·85 this November. This represents a reduction of £1·63 a week or 21·79 per cent. For a family which in 1955 had insufficient income to benefit from the child tax allowance a comparable calculation shows an increase in child support of £8·55 a week or 271·4 per cent.


asked the Prime Minister by how much she estimates that child benefit will have declined in real value between April 1979 and April 1983.

It is not possible to estimate the real value of child benefit at April 1983 because there is no forecast of inflation between November 1982, when the rate of child benefit will be increased, and April 1983.