Thursday, 21 October 2010

Farewell, Child Benefit

When Child Benefit stops being paid to higher rate tax payers in 2013, my family, like 1.5m others, will lose out (my husband earns just over the threshold; I earn nothing).

We had been doing what a lot of people have probably been doing with their Child Benefit: putting it into our daughter's Child Trust Fund, with the hope that she will then have a lump sum to use when she's older - possibly for University.

With students today in debt to the tune of £20,000 or more by the time they graduate, goodness knows what state University education will be in by 2025, the year our daughter will be 18. The amount we may have been able to save up through Child Benefit probably wouldn't have touched the sides, but at least it would've been something.

Maybe she won't go to University. Already, the idea of a free University place, no tuition fees and readily-available grants - all of which was available just 11 years ago, when I graduated, seems like a thing of luxury in a time of plenty.

But it's not just the practical impact that the scrapping of Child Benefit for those 1.5m families will have; it's what receiving Child Benefit signifies. To me, it felt like a nod from the state that what we as parents are doing is somehow appreciated. Of course, raising a family is in many ways a joy, but a lot of the time it is bloody hard work - emotionally, physically, and yes, financially.

Much of that burden falls on women, many of whom, like me, will put their careers on hold (possibly damaging them for good) and devote several years to childcare. Child Benefit somehow seemed a sign that we were doing a job which was worth doing well - the most important job that there is: raising children in the hope that they will become well-adjusted, kind, engaged citizens. So today, not surprisingly, I'm feeling not a little angry.

1 comment:

  1. Not only that.
    Receiving CB counts towards your state pension. It's called HRA - Home Responsibility Allowance.