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6 October 2010

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Westminster Child Benefit cuts will increase poverty

Daithí McKay MLA

THE British Government’s move to cut Child Benefit in 2013 will have a greater impact on single parents and families with a stay-at-home parent than others, says Sinn Féin MLA and Poverty spokesperson Daithí McKay.

He said the Tory party’s approach to cutting benefits will result in higher levels of poverty.

This proposal from the British Government will leave you with a perverse situation where, on the one hand, a couple with one child who earn over £80,000 will qualify for Child Benefit yet a single mother or father with a large family and an income of just £44,000 will lose thousands of pounds in Child Benefit which they are now entitled to.

This is a very crude proposal that has more to do with meeting targeted public spending savings than the best interests of children.

This is in addition to the freezing of Child Benefit rates for the next three years and the fact that the British Government has not put forward any concrete proposals which will tackle child poverty.

Further to that, they are refusing to guarantee that the Winter Fuel Allowance will remain untouched. That is a major concern for us as the North has a high rate of older people in poverty, a rate which is continually rising.

These proposals from the British Government will introduce stark inequalities into Child Benefit distribution and will have a huge impact on single-parent families and families with stay-at-home parents.

Such an approach to welfare will inevitably lead to a rise in poverty and is something that this Assembly must oppose robustly.

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