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Will child benefit be means tested in the future?

Iain Duncan Smith has certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons at the Conservative party conference this week with a suggestion that child benefit will be means tested after 2017. He believes that the new proposed universal benefit payment will absorb the likes of child benefit and ultimately households in the UK will be means tested on their overall household income as opposed to individual incomes.

It would appear that the Conservative party has undertaken a campaign to reduce the impact of George Osborne's child benefit reduction which was announced earlier in the week. While the headline reason and the headline figures all appear to stack up there is major concern that the overall policy was not thought out correctly. There are gray areas which could see those on higher combined incomes, with both individuals earning less than £44,000 a year, still receive child benefits while one member of any household earning over £44,000 would effectively ensure that the whole household does not receive child benefit payments.

It seems that the coalition government have made a mistake with regards to this policy and will need to either backtrack or bring new initiatives out in the future to regain the centre ground.

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