Child benefit reforms

What you think.

GOVERNMENT plans to scrap child benefit for middle income families have struck a raw nerve with East Devon residents.

The cuts are expected take effect from 2013 and will remove child benefit from families with one parent earning more than �44,000 - while allowing families with two earners who earn below �44,000 each, but with a collective income of �80,000, to keep it.

The Midweek Herald asked you for your views.

Many people thought the way in which the cuts have been decided was unfair and feel the cut off point should be much higher, fearing it would penalise the middle classes.

Jane Wilson, 44, from Northleigh, said: “They have got to take it from somewhere.

“It is very difficult.

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“You can’t take it from low earners if it goes to the benefit of high earners. It will stop people on �44,000 – but do they really need it?”

Bridget Holt, from Whitford, said: “It is a good idea, but maybe the cut off point has not been thought through enough. It will penalise middle income families.”

Michelle Clayton, 31, from Honiton, said: “No, I don’t think it is fair.

“We haven’t got a lot to live on. Mine does not stretch - with the cost of school shoes and paying for school dinners.

“The money is not adequate for looking after three children, as you have to try to make sure all the bills are paid.

“Nobody is going to be living anywhere; we are going to be living in cardboard boxes. It isn’t fair.”

Helen Hull, 34, said: “If someone has got a lot of children, just to get a house and benefits, that is a bit unfair for people who are working and trying to work and are not on benefits.

“If people have a lot of children you do feel they shouldn’t have it, but, if they didn’t have it, the children would suffer - because they are not getting child benefits.

“It all needs addressing as it is too easy for people to have children and the Government gives everything to them.

Helen Lyons, 36, from Ottery St Mary, said: “Higher earning people, obviously with extreme amounts of money, shouldn’t get child benefit.

“I do agree with the Government plan, but the cut off point is quite low.

“Quite ordinary families earn that sort of money and don’t live luxurious lifestyles.

“It needs to be put up quite a bit higher.”

Maria Styles, from Uplyme, said: “Why come up with a figure of �44,000? How did they arrive at that benchmark?

“It just depends where people are living, as some areas have fewer services than others.

“A figure of �44,000 doesn’t go very far. I think before they put anything in place, the Government should properly test a financial model out.

“In principle, I think people who are on a lot better incomes, or dual incomes, should really make more contributions, because they can.

“I think they need to be very careful, financially, to make sure it is fair, otherwise it is just another way of taxing someone.

“Those on single incomes need to be given a greater leeway for these sorts of benefits.”

Marian Snow, 68, from Exeter, said: “All I think is, I am 68 and, when my son was born, we didn’t get child benefit - until he it came in, when he was leaving school.

“It was handy to have, but we didn’t particularly need it. I think a lot of it should be means tested.”

Anne Long, from Honiton, said: “People who are high earners don’t need it. I suppose it is a difficult thing, but they should decide a certain amount and stick to it.

“Again, it depends on the amount. For high earners, it is not going to make a great deal of difference - they don’t need it.

Neil Lane, 52, from Honiton, said: “I do agree that people on particularly high wages should not get child benefit, but I am not so sure about the �44,000 cut off point.

“I think it might be a bit low, maybe �60,000 might be better and more near the mark.

“I don’t think that is right, with the joint income thing.”