Posted: 06/10/2010 at 15:37
I have been, in the past, an active poster on these hallowed RW forums.
For reasons that will become apparent below, in recent times I have been taking a bit of an enforced break from the banter and, indeed, from running itself.
But stumbling across this thread, I thought I would share my experience on the Child Benefit debate...
Here's our story.
I provide the sole income in our household.
We are a family of 6.
I have twin daughters aged 2.
I have twin sons who are nearly 4 weeks old.
(Both sets conceived naturally.)
My wife and I think of ourselves as incredibly lucky.
And, yes, I am lucky enough to be a higher-rate taxpayer. But only just.
(Incidentally, I lost my job in 2009 and was super-lucky to find work quickly.)
Every penny I earn (after tax!) is spent supporting my family.
Paying the bills. Covering the mortgage.
We do not smoke. We don't drink.
We have not had a holiday as a couple since 2004
(We have not had a holiday as a family ever.)
We live in London. (My job only really exists in London.)
Where property is expensive. (We bought our house without any family help.)
In our part of London, childcare is scarce.
(We had to plead for places on a nearby play-group for our girls.)
And it's not cheap. (The play-group is charity-run, but still costs us £3500-a-year.)
So for us, Child benefit for us is not 'Mummy's Latté Money' or 'University Fund'.
It is cash that keeps us afloat.
Without Child Benefit, what would we do?
It is effectively impossible for my wife to return to work at the moment.
She was refused flexible working by her employer. (Male, not married, no kids.)
She had to resign her job as a well-paid Head of Marketing.
She became a full-time-Mum.
If she returned to working full-time, the cost of full-time childcare (if we could find places) would wipe out her earnings twice over.
We have no family living nearby.
We have no help from friends.
We would just have to find a way to survive.
I'm not moaning, just stating the facts of our situation.
You see, what the Government is trying to apply a simple solution (and, indeed, a simple-minded solution) to what is a very complicated issue.
And you have to ask why.
Yes, we have a gigantic black hole in the nation's finances.
But there is also an ideological agenda going on here.
And we are foolish if we ignore it.
And unless any reduction in Child Benefit is based on *household* income not *individual* income, all Cameron's claims of 'Fairness' and 'We're all in this together' are nothing but hollow political posturing.