Stop Whining about Child Benefit Already.

So you earn £50,000 and you’re not going to receive child benefit any more. Or you have a household income of £100,000+ and you won’t receive your benefit next year?

Well, excuse me for a nano-second while I try (and fail) to come up with an ounce of sympathy for you.

I am so cross reading middle-class whining about how tough people are going to find it living without their child benefit – which is being withdrawn from families with a household where one partner earns over £50,000, or where both combined earn more than £100,000.

Seriously – am I missing something?

You earn £50,000. And you’re upset about losing out on £20 a week (or more like £60 if you’ve got three children).

Frankly, if you earn that sort of money, or if you and your partner combined have a household income in six figures, I’m not sure you can make a convincing argument for needing state benefits.

You might enjoy it. You almost certainly like it. You probably comfortably expanded your lifestyle to spend that additional few pounds a week from the government. Heck, you might even need to make adjustments once the money isn’t there – but you don’t NEED it. Not in the way someone needs Housing Benefit, or free education, or fire engines.

Reading about this issue last night, I did some rough and ready maths. Someone earning £50,000 a year takes home around £3,000 a month. Assuming they’re on a regular mortgage of 3x their salary, that means a mortgage payment of around £750, leaving more than enough to pay for food, utilities, childcare and basic household expenses, surely? (And if you’re a couple borrowing £250,000, your mortgage payment would be around £1,400 – which sounds about right to me)

After all, there are millions of families making ends meet on far less than this.

Here’s the thing – there’s a better than fair chance we’ll lose child benefit when the changes come in. And yes, it niggles a bit that as a single parent I only need to earn £50k before I’m affected while my married friends could earn £99k and retain their full benefit.

But I do also realise how ludicrous a statement like, “I only need to earn £50,000” sounds to most people in this country in 2012.

My child has everything she needs, and more besides.

She’s loved (of course) and she has a roof over her head, and food in her belly. She’s being well educated, and she takes part in lots of activities to keep her entertained, from cinema trips and meals out to holidays, guitar lessons and drama club. Our house has broadband, and satellite TV. We have several computers and laptops and tablets and mobile phones.

If we had to, it wouldn’t be hard to find something we could cut back on to save £20 a week. And not every family is fortunate enough to be able to say that.

Of course, I  think the things we spend money on are important – I don’t want to think of life without Twitter, or box-sets of Gossip Girl downloaded from iTunes. But I certainly don’t feel the government is obliged to help fund those things.

So let’s preserve child benefit for those families who really do need it, and stop whinging if we can’t afford the latest coat from Boden, shall we?


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