If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Osborne "declares war" on the rich

Thanks to JuliaM, I saw this piece from Monday's Grauniad. It's by Joseph Harker, and it's a doozy. Apparently, by taking child benefit (worth approximately £1000 for the first child and £700 thereafter) away from people earning over £44,000, Osborne is "declaring war on families".
When I heard on the radio this morning that George Osborne was removing child benefit from high earners, I winced, thinking that the £1,000 per year to be taken away would be a bit of a blow to those on salaries over £44,000. As his mantra goes, "we're all in this together", so it may be a price worth paying in order to reduce Britain's budget deficit.

But when I later discovered that benefits would be cut for all children, not just the first, I realised that this would be both hugely painful – and go against all that the Tories claim to support.
Hugely painful? For whom? People on £44k a year and above? Do me a favour. They are rich.

Julia's post is an excellent demolition job on this piece of exhibition-grade Islington whingeing, and I can't say anything better than she already has, so I won't go over that ground again. All I will say is that the comments in the Garundia are mostly anti, and for the reasons you would expect.
Some may believe that, to a high earner, child benefit is a luxury.
Yes ....

You see, Harker has five children, so he will be hit hard by this.
Children are hugely expensive – and child benefit is the state's way of acknowledging the financial hit to parents, and making a small contribution to offset it. For larger families, costs such as clothes and food multiply. It costs £240 per term for my three older children to travel to senior school, for example. And even little things like swimming classes, football practice and music lessons all mount up when multiplied: not to mention the "luxuries" like eating out (one family meal at McDonald's: £20), or the annual holiday (flights out of the question).
Well, yes. Anyone who has had children will know that they are a massive drain on your finances. But then, you sort of know that when you have them. Unless Harker's offspring are the result of failed contraception, and quintuplets to boot, then he must have chosen parenthood consciously - if he felt that having children was going to be so desperately costly, why did he choose to have five? Or any at all?

Here's the thinking, in the comments: Tweebuffelsmeteen writes:
If you want to have 5 children .... look after them yourself. It is not up to me to look after them for you.
To which Upnorthkid replies:
Yeah it is. It's called society. Or it was till that duo of millionaire wreckers hijacked our nation.
Apart from the fact that the 'millionnaire wreckers' were elected by the voters, which makes this a new definition of 'hijack' that I wasn't aware of, this is the Left's thinking in a nutshell. We are a 'society', and therefore everything is everyone else's responsibility. I have children - you pay for them. I want a job as a community mime artist - you owe me a salary. I don't feel like working - you owe me a plasma TV and a Playstation.

I can see the logic of the taxation system supporting people who are struggling to bring up their kids. No-one wants to see children going hungry because their parents are on the minimum wage. I can even see the point of paying the support in cash to the mother (the old Child Tax Allowance nearly always went to the father in the form of a lower tax code, and of course it all went on booze and fancy women, you know what men are like, har har). But why was this ever a universal benefit? Why does a woman/man earning £150,000 get a gift of a grand a year per child, paid for by, in many cases, people who are earning a tenth of that? Harker whinges on that he finds it hard to keep his head above water, but some people need the Child Benefit so little that they have been able to save it over the child's entire lifetime to give the kids a legacy of £16,000 when they reach 16, to do with as they wish. Read this and weep.

I'm sorry, Mr Harker, but someone on £44,000 is not struggling on the breadline. The average salary in the UK is half that. I know people (clever people, doing proper jobs) who are lucky to get £18,000. The most I have ever earned in a year was £25,000, and that seemed like a lot to me. So please forgive me if I don't sob in sympathy with well-rewarded journalists who are going to find it difficult to afford the second pony for the middle daughter or the third mini-break in the Seychelles because Tuscany is sooooo crowded this time of year, dahling.

If you can't afford kids, don't have them. and that applies to Guardian journalists as much as it applies to the benefit breeders on sink estates.

Here's an idea: let the Government make a statement that, from 7 July next year, Child Benefit will be paid only in respect of the first child and no others, and will not be paid at all to anyone earning more than the average wage. That's fair: any children already in the pipeline will be supported under the present system. But, from tonight, if you fancy getting fruity, you'll be the one who pays for it.

You can just hear it now - "It's so unfair!"


  1. I would love them to make that announcement. I am so sick of paying for other peoples kids, particularly when I don't have any of my own.

    As you've shown with those comments, no matter how shitty the situation, there will always be some lefty prats to agree with it. Society my arse. Don't have the little buggers if you can't afford them.

  2. Mine are in their 20s now and flown the nest (all except financially, ho ho). When they were young I had the Child Benefit for them both, and very grateful I was too. However, we were a single-income family earning about £15k, and that money made a big difference. How someone can argue that he has a right to someone on £18k funding his kids' piano lessons when he is on £44k+ beats me, though. Osborne has pulled a classic Blair-style triangulation on Labour here. Take it away from the already rich - how can they complain? (Although, as we have seen, they do.) I suspect this is a gambit in a long game - future cuts in benefits to the feckless will be much more easily accepted if the middle classes have already made 'their' sacrifice. Smart man.

  3. Whilst this is a somewhat different topic it requires the same logical thinking from our leaders to obtain from those who have not a sum greater than those who allready have -----The tax on my car is £236 for the year which, due to my present state of un-employment, I can't really afford. So I will have to pay more as a result? Which I really can't afford due to my present state of un-employment? £129.25 for the half year. That will be another £22.50 becouse I can't afford it in the first place. (Saddly I have had to SORN the bike for the same reason).
    I also had one of those please let us have some money you don't appear to have paid on wages you earnt over the period of tax years 2008 and 2009. Can't afford this either but they won't write it off becouse my figures don't have enough zeros on them. I am bitter on all of these subjects and whilst I did not go to uni I have tried to suport my two daughters in thier choice to. When I were a lad the choice was made easier as there were no fee's as such becouse everyone was entitled to go to uni paid for by us all. How did it all go to pot this way? Pay parking in the NHS hospital carparks (Tax?). Westminster Council asking Bikers to pay for parking (Tax),the solution to trafic jams. I could go on and I do, sorry. Benifits should only go to those who genuinly deserve help, not those for whom a couple of holidays a year is the norm and the two car's have to be replaced every 2/3 years for new one's. £44,000 I should be so bloody lucky! Even with Mrs. Reb earning we have never got anywhere near that.
    OOOS now I just sound like a bitter old git.

  4. My situation is very similar to yours, and I can sympathise fully. The idea that the welfare state is a catch-net to preserve a minimum standard of living for everyone (which I support) is long gone. Under the last government, we got to a situation where many (most?) people find themselves in receipt of some kind of benefit, although the govt just taxes them more to pay for it. I think they were trying to get so many people into the benefits system that people would never vote the Tories in again, in case they lost their 'entitlements'. They almost succeeded. I think if Labour had won in 2010, they would have closed it off and we would never have had anything but Labour for the foreseeable future. At least we escaped that. We may have a smaller state at some point, which I would welcome, but it's still a long way off.


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