Confusion over
Child Benefit

I find myself in two minds. This very rarely happens. I bumped into Louise Broughton (wife of Rick, the TV detective) outside the library today and I asked her if she was concerned about the Budget.

She said she didn’t have one really, just muddled along as all actors do, and I said, ‘No, George Osborne. What he’s going to announce on 21st March’, and explained that I’d been thinking about Child Benefit.

She opened her grey eyes very wide and said, ‘Should I be thinking about it, too?’, which of course I couldn’t answer, because that’s completely up to her. My role is simply to stimulate discussion.

I said, ‘On the one hand, I can see why the Coalition wants to take Child Benefit away from high earners, but on the other hand I support the idea of a universal benefit.’

Louise looked anxious.

I said, ‘And of course I can’t bear the idea that a household with one person earning £80,000 would lose the benefit, while a household with two people earning £40,000 each wouldn’t.’

She frowned. She said, ‘That makes three.’

I said, ‘Three what?’

She said, ‘Three hands.’

You can see why the row over Child Benefit is being called the Coalition cliff edge. It’s so confusing that even the ordinary woman in the street can’t follow it.

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