David Cameron was yesterday forced to defend child benefit cuts, insisting the controversial reforms were “fundamentally fair”.
Pollsters and experts have warned against the “incompetent” changes, which came into effect at midnight.
Families will lose one per cent of child benefit – paid at £20.30 a week for a first child and £13.40 for each subsequent child – for every £100 the top earner receives over £50,000. At £60,000 all benefit will be lost.
An estimated 1.2 million households will lose an average of £1,300 a year, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies. Families were given until last night to tell HMRC to stop paying the benefit.
Those that have not will have to fill in self-assessment tax forms and have the cash clawed back through PAYE.
Prof Philip Booth, of the Institute of Economic Affairs, accused the Government of “family-bashing” and said it was “direct discrimination against couple families, especially single-earner couple families”.
He said: “It is probably the single most incompetent change to the benefit system since the Second World War.” Conservative MP and former minister Christopher Chope opposed the cuts.
He said: “It is sending out a message to families which is totally contrary to what the Prime Minister said originally, that he would support and promote them.”
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