Plans for a cut in child benefit for higher earners were looking flakier than an aircraft free aircraft carrier today after it was revealed that there is currently no way of checking whether high earners had a partner claiming Child Benefit.
The problem is this: Child Benefit is currently administered by the DWP. Tax is administered the HMRC. They aren’t very good at talking to each other and the DWP has no access to the tax records. So the DWP will continue to pay child benefit to all new mother’s, however the HMRC will then take the money away from those families containing a high rate tax payer (and then give it back in the form of a Tory married couple tax break – but that’s another story).
So far quite complicated. This is the reason for the anomaly whereby parents earning 70k between them get to keep Child Benefit, but parents with a single income of 45k lose it. Not ideological, just a bodge. The only way round it would be to completely integrate the DWP and HMRC’s systems and databases, allowing one agency to know exactly what benefits someone is claiming, what tax they are paying and their personal circumstances. This is something previous governments have spent hundreds of millions failing to do and no doubt this one will do the same.
The problem is lots of parents aren’t married, or registered as married with the HMRC. This means if an expectant mother fails to inform the HMRC about rich bloke then there is really no way they can find out. It depends entirely on the honesty of the middle classes when it comes to tax affairs. Perhaps this is the new optimism within the Tory Party.
Gideon Osborne is cross. He says that penalties will be introduced for non-disclosure. More forms, more fines, more cops, for a policy which, due to the conference climb-down, actually won’t save any money at all. It will just move it round a bit at great expense.
The Treasury are unrepentant and talking about new legislation to ensure the well-heeled latte slurpers play ball. Child Benefit for one kid is about £15 a week. Will we really see an army of snoopers going through the affairs of the middle classes to save trivial amounts? No, of course we fucking won’t, and this policy will almost certainly be dropped. So whilst the poor lose their homes the rich get to keep their benefits. Fucking scroungers.
It has often been said to never underestimate the stupidity of the police. The same applies to governments, particularly ones staffed by a bunch of chinless wet cunts who’ve never done a days work in their life. The real warning though is in assuming that this stupidity is a good thing. It often ain’t.
The Housing Benefit cuts, the cuts to disability benefits and many of the rest of this daft plank of wannabe-policy are equally full of holes. But the rich kids are carrying on regardless, carrying out a completely different agenda to the one their Libdem lapdogs parrot nightly on the television. This is about the demolition of the Welfare State at any cost. These cuts are just the start, if we tolerate this then we will all be fucking next.