Governance‎ > ‎Fiscal policy‎ > ‎Tax‎ > ‎What does tax pay for?‎ > ‎Support‎ > ‎Benefits/entitlements‎ > ‎

Child Benefits

"Benefits on legs"

Claimant: I've come to claim my benefits for my 8 children!

Dept manager: Their names please?

C: Wayne, Wayne, ... , Wayne, and Wayne. It keeps things simple when I need to call them inside.

D: What if you only need one of them?

C: I call them by their surname.


Child Benefit was originally introduced to encourage people to have children to make up for the losses of WW2. This objective is no longer required.

Arguments against child benefit cuts

"It is the child who will suffer in poverty"
They've been put into poverty by their parents, either consciously or by stupidity.
The child is the parents responsibility, not a strangers, the parent has to provide for the child. 
It is a form of social blackmail using kids as pawns.
The word suffer is used too loosely, sometimes to mean, they will not be as well off.
The children are already born into poverty if both parents do not work.

"If someone loses their job they won't be able to afford the children they have"
Most people will be able to find a job in a short while, and while they wait they can use their savings. You don't expect the state to cover your mortgage when you lose a job, you make savings to cover it.
You can get insurance to cover you if you lose your job.

"Reducing child benefit is taking money away from the poor."
Reducing State handouts is not theft, excessive taxation is.

Unlimited liability

Ask whether families should be able to expect never-ending amounts of money for every child?
Some people say the world is over-populated, if this is the case, then paying people for each child they are having will not help.

Kids are a luxury, not a necessity, people who are struggling to pay for necessities should not be contributing to others luxuries.


  • A vast majority of working parents make decisions of how many children they can have based on what they can afford  This should also apply to those who do not work.
  • Those who are working and saving up to have children are subsidising those who don't have to.
  • Those who choose not to have children have to subsidise those that can't afford them
  • People on lower incomes can be subsidising people with children on higher incomes.
  • If child benefit is universal then it is unfair to pay people the money who do not need it from general taxation.
  • People out of work should not be better off than those in work in terms of time to see children and lifestyle
  • Have the people who claim to need the benefit had an asset check that they don't have TV's/savings and the like they can sell to pay for them before the state does.
"If you are a working family and you have another child, you know it's going to mean quite a severe impact on your living costs. Yet in the welfare system, it's almost turned on its head, so additional children are actually recognised, with no limit." 

"If you are a working family and you have another child, you know it's going to mean quite a severe impact on your living costs. Yet in the welfare system, it's almost turned on its head, so additional children are actually recognised, with no limit."

"A young person who's out of work is given an advantage over a young person who's in work when it comes to moving away from their parents because of housing benefit. So there's a bizarre incentive which means if you're not in work you can more easily move out and get your own place. That is a matter of basic fairness"

Grant Shapps

Failure of democracy

Child benefit is a form of bribe the government gives people in exchange for votes. But it is a false bribe, we pay you now, and you pay us later in taxes. The government is not providing anything just redistributing.

The more that get on child benefit, the harder it is for future governments remove it

Opportunity cost

Govt spending

Should the money be scrapped for child benefit and be used on :
  • Early education
  • Childcare 
  • Nursery's 
  • Kids health.
  • Social workers

If people really care about children, they would use the money spent in their country for child benefit on a poorer country, more children would be brought out of poverty then.

Parents actions

  • Having the child benefit, makes it worthwhile not to go to work. The benefit is a cause of unemployment.
  • Having less children means more resources for the existing children, and/or parents who are also important


Children are a choice, contraception is widely available.
  • Child benefit is another one of those seen as an automatic right, which makes for a culture dependency.
  • People can see benefits as a right rather than a privilege, but it is others that have to pay for their choices.No-one has the right to expect the state to sponsor their reproductive urges.
  • In some cases, children understand they are nothing more than a meal ticket.
  • Child benefit removes the need for one parent to work, weakening family bonds
  • Being brought up on benefits does not instil work ethic which is needed to make society function.

It is an unfortunate truth that the most prolific breeders are usually the most irresponsible people and their culture passes through to their children who go on to be prolific and irresponsible breeders.


Having children is a responsibility before it is a right.
  • Child benefit lets the parents off the hook for being responsible, if they expect others to pay, they should be punished or prevented from having more. Some would say to sterilise them.
  • If parents can't be financially responsible, why should strangers have to be financially responsible for them?

Moral hazard

Child benefit divorces the cost of having a child from the benefit of having them, leading to people having more children than they would otherwise.

You would not choose to have a family pet if you could not afford to feed it would you, then expect the tax payer to pick up the tab

Effectiveness and efficiency

  • Giving parents a child benefit is no guarantee that the child will see any benefit of that money.
  • There is no guarantee that parents actually need the money
  • Contraception is widely available - not choosing to use it should not be a meal ticket.
  • There should be some monitoring of how the money is spent
  • Any child born after 10 months of unemployment should attract no benefit.
  • Giving people child benefit, increases the number of next generation who will see child benefit as a way of life
  • Using vouchers so the money goes on children's products
  • Less children are good reduce strain on limited resources
  • Those children who receive child benefit are not entitled to it when they grow up


  • Why can't grandparents and other family members help out before going to the state
  • What about having to save before having a child - lower taxes would help this
  • Instead of child benefits, a child should be able to sue its parents for misery when 18
  • Parents should be given jobs, and not benefits
  • The lowest tax threshold could be raised instead of giving child benefits
  • Children should count as a benefit, but as a significant tax reduction
  • People who think they want children can have an amount automatically deducted into a child savings account and can dig into that when they have children
  • Some people say you shouldn't give people benefits for having children, instead you should charge them for all the services they will use.


Child benefit is related to other forms of benefit expected to be paid for by other people
  • Child benefit follows Maternity allowance
  • It is paid as well as Maternity pay
  • Priority council housing
  • Free IVF treatment
  • Free schooling
  • Free healthcare
  • There may be other benefits on top of this such as housing allowance