Front-loading child benefit

Frank Field, a Labour MP, the new coalition’s government’s poverty advisor, and a past FTM AGM speaker, has proposed increasing child benefit for early years and decreasing it for later years. This will certainly make it easier for families with younger children to survive on just one income and have the mother (of the father) at home most of the time.

But cutting child benefit for older children underestimates the ‘face-time’ that teenagers require. Better would be to finance an increase in child benefit – across the board – by scrapping non-parental childcare subsidies, such as nurseries.

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3 Responses to “Front-loading child benefit”

  1. Sally Greenhill Says:

    With limited resources, it is important to concentrate help where it is most needed and I feel for most families it is when they are starting a family, so I welcome Frank Field’s proposal to front-load child benefit on to the first 3 years. Not only is this a very expensive time, with the investment in all the baby gear and possibly buying a flat/house for the first time, but also wth the mother’s loss of earnings if she wants to be her baby’s chief carer beyond the statutory period of maternity leave. Of course teenagers require ‘face time’ but if the child has been securely parented in the early years, hopefully a good-enough relationship will continue into the teenage years , in spite of the mother working by then. Often the teenager him/herself can get an after-school job, to help finances – which obviousy can’t happen with under-3s, so the extra subsidy is more necessary in the early years, I think.

  2. Bo C Pettersson Says:

    I agree with FTMUK – partially!

    Scrapping tax subsidies to non-parental childcare establishments is essential and an elevated Child Benefit across the board would be far better than your current system.

    As a matter of fact, such an elevated benefit is what we in my org, Childrens’ Right (www.barnensratt.se/index-en.htm), propose for Sweden as an intermediate solution.

    But as longt-term solution we push for something we call Family Taxation (an improvement on income splitting), meaning that the family not the two parents individually, be taxation subject and subsistence burden and income-necessary expenses such as for child care be tax-deductible.

    This latter solution would make far more sense macroeconomically, offer more personal and familial freedom and have strongly positive psychological and social effects (divorce & single-parenthood rates would drop sharply).

    So you push for Family Taxation too, it would be just right for Britain!

  3. Janeen Evans Says:

    I worry about the ‘front loading’. I managed to look after my eldest child at home until he was five, but then due to mortgage worries I had to go out to work. When he was 17 I realised that ‘quality-time’ was just not good enough. He was not ready to talk when I had the time. Fortunately I managed to change things so my other children did not suffer in the same way but I still feel the guilt. Teenagers need parents to be there even more than the little ones do. It is harder to deal with teenagers and easier to imagine that they can cope but if we spent more time just ‘being there’ for our older children I think there would be fewer problems.

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