Skip to main content

Child Benefit (Higher Earners)

Volume 565: debated on Tuesday 25 June 2013

16. What progress he has made on his policy to withdraw child benefit payments from higher earners. (161233)

In January 2013 a new income tax charge was introduced to reduce or remove the financial benefit of receiving child benefit for those on high incomes. For taxpayers with incomes between £50,000 and £60,000, the amount of the charge is a proportion of the child benefit received. For taxpayers with income above £60,000, the amount of the charge is equal to the amount of child benefit received. Eighty-five per cent. of families with children continue to benefit in full from child benefit. Entitlement to child benefit payments remains universal and will continue to be paid to all those who claim it.

I am delighted to hear about the savings that will be achieved, especially given that those of us who supported them were told by the Labour party that they would destroy the universal principle, and that they were complicated, unfair and unworkable. It now appears that they are workable, and the Opposition have accepted that they will not change the policy. Will my hon. Friend share with us what vital provision of services those savings can achieve, and will he also consider means-testing the winter fuel allowance?

There is a substantial saving to the Exchequer through child benefit. It was not that long ago when the Leader of the Opposition said that millionaires should receive child benefit because

“it’s a cornerstone of our system to have universal benefits”.

It appears that that is no longer the case, although all we have is briefing. On winter fuel payments, the Prime Minister made it clear that they would continue in the course of this Parliament and we will fulfil that commitment.