Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Britain cutting child subsidy to the affluent

LONDON — The British government said Monday that it would no longer pay a universal child subsidy to wealthier families, opening a campaign that may end up transforming Britain's welfare system by reducing benefits to the middle and upper classes.

The decision, announced by George Osborne, the chancellor of the Exchequer, at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, departs from the Tory campaign promise to not place income restrictions on this hugely popular benefit and represents perhaps the most direct attack yet on the rich menu of broad-based entitlements that have underpinned European welfare states.

The government is scheduled to disclose on Oct. 20 how it intends to cut about $130 billion in spending over the next four years, cuts intended to sharply narrow a budget deficit that, at 11 percent of GDP, is one of the biggest in the world.

"This is a big moment for the U.K. welfare state," said Patrick Nolan, an economist at Reform, a free-market-oriented advocacy group in London. "The fact that the government is saying that it can't afford universal benefits is very important. It's where the money is, but it is also where the votes are. That is the conundrum."

Osborne, whose job is the equivalent of a finance minister, said that as of 2013, families making $70,000 a year would not qualify for the benefit, which pays $32 a week for a first child and $21 for each subsequent one. The government estimated that 1.2 million families, about 15 percent of the total, will no longer get the payments.

At roughly $310 billion a year, overall welfare spending, known here as social protection, is the largest component of the British budget.

Britain cutting child subsidy to the affluent

10/04/10 [Last modified: Monday, October 4, 2010 9:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Irma's death toll in Florida rises to 42, but will grow


    TALLAHASSEE —Deadly carbon monoxide fumes have killed 11 people in Florida as Hurricane Irma's death toll rose to 42 on Tuesday, state officials reported.

    A resident walks by a pile of debris caused by a storm surge during Hurricane Irma in Everglades City. The isolated Everglades City community of about 400 people suffered some of Florida's worst storm surges, up to 9 feet (2.7 meters), when Hurricane Irma slammed the region eight days ago, leaving the insides of homes a sodden mess and caking the streets with mud. The storm affected nearly every part of the state, and, so far, the death toll stands at 42. [AP Photo | Alan Diaz]
  2. After Irma, Tampa Bay synagogues get ready for Rosh Hashana


    As the holiest days of the Jewish calendar approached, so did Hurricane Irma.

    Congregants open the ark which holds several torah scrolls during Selichot services at Congregation B'nai Israel of St. Petersburg on Saturday, September 16, 2017. The Jewish new year, Rosh Hashana begins at sundown on Wednesday night.
  3. For ex-Rays/now Cubs manager Joe Maddon, the legacy is in the jeans


    Joe Maddon has plenty of memories of his time at the Trop during nine years of managing the Rays. "Too many to count,'' he said.

  4. 'Stronger' a sobering, sap-free survivor tale from the Boston Marathon bombing


    What didn't kill Jeff Bauman made him Stronger, surviving not only the Boston Marathon terrorist bombings but a crush of well-meaning yet corrosive attention for doing it.

    Jake Gyllenhaal in “Stronger.” The inspiring real life story of Jeff Bauman, an ordinary man who became a symbol of hope following the infamous 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
  5. Tolls suspended because of Irma to return to most Florida roadways on Thursday


    Toll costs will return to most of Florida's roadways on Thursday after Gov. Rick Scott suspended them in wake of Hurricane Irma two weeks ago.

    A view of the I-275 northbound Sunpass lane at the Skyway Bridge. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]