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Does IDS Want To Send Benefit Claimants To China?

October 25, 2012

Iain Duncan Smith is to make a speech to a think tank in Cambridge today about ‘child related benefits.’

He has told the BBC that one of the changes being considered is a possible cap on such benefits at two children. Currently, families get ‘child related benefits’ for every child they have- so the more children a family has, the more related benefits they are entitled to.

So, said Mr Duncan Smith, families on benefits are often ‘freed from’ the decision of whether they could afford more children. This is a decision, he says, that working people have to make. Families on benefits must, he said, now ‘cut their cloth.’

He said the state would continue to support unemployed people who wanted to have children but had to question whether such support would be ‘endless.’

He says this is not about ‘penalising’ people or even saving money. It is, he insisted, a question of fairness to taxpayers who are working and supporting welfare.

A cap like the one Mr Duncan Smith has suggested would directly affect people who are unemployed through no fault of their own, as a direct result of long term sickness or disability.

Imagine a young woman who has completed a good education. Imagine she has worked for some years at a chosen career, contributed to the economy, paid rent, bills and tax.

Imagine she has no children, but has always wanted a big family.

Now imagine that after a few years, she develops a long-term illness and has to give up work. She then meets a partner, who also wants a big family. He has had a similar education and has also worked at a chosen career, a career he gives up to support his partner through her illness.

Is Mr Duncan Smith suggesting that such a couple should not have more than two children? A couple who have done everything right in life, who have as much wish to work as anyone else but who just can’t consider working?

Imagine a young mother who longs for children. She, too, has a good education and a successful career. Now, imagine that through no fault of her own, she has a child who is born with a severe disability.

Is Mr Duncan Smith suggesting that if such a mother gives up work to be a carer to her child, she should be prevented from having more than one other child? Even if she wishes to plan ahead, to give her disabled child siblings who will care for them when it is no longer possible for her to do so?

Imagine someone who was born disabled, who wishes to work but, as a direct result of disability, is unable to have a full time job.

Imagine they manage to get a low paid, part time job. Now imagine they have two children and claim child tax credit.

Is Mr Duncan Smith suggesting that such a person should not be allowed to consider having another child?

It is quite possible that none of these scenarios crossed Mr Duncan Smith’s mind when he suggested this “two child cap.”

If they didn’t, he needs to be told that all three are very possible. He needs to consider very carefully whether such a cap would apply in these situations.

As it is, the policy sounds like something that was thought up by the current government of China. If Mr Duncan Smith would rather all benefit claimants went to live in China until they got a full time job, he should just say so.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2012 4:40 pm

    Not only does this something that sounds like it came out of communist China; it’s also an incredibly ill-thought-out idea. It will lead to some parents putting their children into care, and obviously money will have to be found to pay for those. If the children who get put into care are disabled, or educationally difficult, it will be an even greater cost. And shamelessly aimed at taxpayer resentment as well.

  2. October 25, 2012 5:05 pm

    There are a couple more scenarios that cover similar ground:
    The family that has 3 or more children (actually pretty normal among my chattering class friends) because they can easily afford that on their income at the time, and then finds parents out of work, disabled, split, whatever.
    The family that goes for their second child, only to find themselves suddenly dealing with twins, triplets, or more.

  3. nicola brophy permalink
    October 26, 2012 8:38 pm

    This is a total joke…and very unfair…the goverment give benefits to people who come into the country plus there familys its wrong and should be stopped..what evr happened to looking after ya own…this country looks after everyone else…its not on and its not fair….i am a mum of 4 autistic boys so where the hell dos that leave me…am un able to work because of the amount of things i have to do…any one with disabled kids will now what i am talkin about…how can r kids thrive in this world when the goverment are clearly idiots and takin it out on us…

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