Alison Garnham's blog

9 reasons to protect child benefit

"I'm not going to flannel you, I'm going to give it to you straight. I like the child benefit, I wouldn't change child benefit, I wouldn't means-test it, I don't think that is a good idea."

So said
David Cameron in March 2010. But the Prime Minister is being urged to drop this read-my-lips pledge when his party draws up its manifesto in the coming months. 

According to reports today the think tank Policy Exchange is calling for child benefit to be tapered away as families have more children. Others are urging him on to go even further. 

New Child Poverty Strategy Is Last Chance for Coalition to Show It's Serious About Ending Child Poverty

The coalition government has repeatedly embraced its legal commitment to end child poverty by 2020. As part of this, it needs to publish a second national Child Poverty Strategy (CPS) by early April. The delays in getting out a draft - initially expected before Christmas, but now expected later this week - have given rise to feverish political speculation. But it's worth at this point taking a step back to think about the context in which the strategy is being launched - and why it matters.

You can’t reduce poverty without an adequate welfare state

No one denies that Rachel Reeves, as Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, has one of the toughest gigs in town. Fiscally, it seems a Labour government would cap spending on social security. Politically, at a time when highly punitive policies such as the benefit cap attract broad public support, Labour is sensitive to proposing any reform that could be spun as "soft on scroungers". Getting the politics and the economics right will not be easy.