Child Benefit Scheme From A Historical And Political Perspective Social Work Essay

This essay will analyze the kid benefit strategy from both a historical and political position in which it will analyze the arguments on kid benefit in the 1970 ‘s when the strategy was foremost introduced and compare them to the current arguments and reforms the alliance authorities have proposed to present.

The kid benefit strategy was to the full introduced in 1977 through the Child Benefit Act 1975 proposed by the Labour authorities coming from a socialist position. Child benefit merged Family Allowances, which were paid to those with more than one kid, and Child Tax Allowances into one individual payment. These were both old public assistance benefits specifically for kids. Child benefit is a cosmopolitan, revenue enhancement free benefit paid to all kids in the family. It did non except those on higher incomes or was any different for individual parent households as it was paid to every kid ( Greener & A ; Cracknell, 1998 ) . Child benefit was a acknowledgment by authorities that there are excess costs when parents have kids. Child benefits have been increased by the consecutive authoritiess over the old ages in relation to rising prices and the demands of kids and households. It is regarded as a positive benefit, assisting alleviate kid poorness and societal exclusion. It is recognised as a just and worthy manner of passing public money and an investing for the hereafter ( Greener & A ; Cracknell, 1998 ) .

There were a figure of positive and negative statements for and against the debut of child benefit. One of the chief causes for an improved system of child support was the lifting degrees of kid poorness in Britain in the 1960 ‘s and 1970 ‘s ( Hendrick, 2008 ) . Child Benefit was seen as a manner of protecting and forestalling a kid against poorness ( Bennett & A ; Dornan, 2006 ) . Poverty had increased as of the want caused by the likes of rising prices and the rise in nutrient monetary values ( McCarthy, 1983 ) . There were a figure of studies foregrounding the diminution in life criterions of kids such as those by 1960 ‘s bookmans Margaret Wynn and Della Nevitt oppugning whether support for kids in the 1960 ‘s matched the demands of kids ( Field, 1982 ) . Further, the societal research worker Richard Titmuss expressed that kid support in Britain was severely designed and had to be improved as merely those with more than one kid received Family allowances ( Field, 1982 ) . Additionally a study on Fortunes of Families ( 1966 ) presented to us that half a million households who have one and a one-fourth kids live on or below the official poorness line ( Field, 1982 ) . Therefore these studies show that kid poorness was an on-going issue at the clip and a valid ground as to why a new kid policy such as child benefit would be a good action for kids ‘s hereafter. It provides a signifier of stableness as it does non depend on income ( Bennett & A ; Dornan, 2006 ) .

The Child Poverty Action Group ( CPAG ) were extremely influential in the debut of Child Benefit. They campaigned for the protection of kids since their constitution in 1965. The CPAG ‘s chief purpose was to carry Harold Wilson ‘s Labour authorities to increase Family Allowances and hence brought child benefit into the public oculus ( Field, 1982 ) . When it came to the kid benefit run The CPAG had been claimed as the ‘main stimulation ‘ for its debut ( Field, 1982 ) . They even used menaces to the authorities to demand better public assistance for kids. They were a Group who represented the hapless, moving as an agent of those in poorness. Their intent was to assist hapless households and non merely concentrate on altering the constructions in society ( Field, 1982 ) . CPAG candidates tried to convert hapless people that it was non their mistake they were in poorness but was constructions within society that did non reasonably redistribute resources ( Field, 1982 ) . Harmonizing to Field ( 1982 ) the Group had strong support for an appropriate signifier of child support to be put in topographic point as they believe it was needed to eliminate child poorness. The Group recognised raising a kid costs more money and sharing the cost through the redistribution of income was thought to be the best manner of bettering kids ‘s public assistance ( McCarthy, 1983 ) . Therefore looking at the political issues in the history of kid benefits are of import to analyze the development of child benefit. The CPAG ‘s influence in kid benefit shows the big impact force per unit area groups can hold on political issues and how they raise public consciousness. McCarthy ( 1983 ) besides claims if the CPAG had non became involved in the cause the issue may non hold been discussed at all. It besides shows that authorities are non the lone supporters in the policy procedure as the Group had such a peripheral function on child benefit.

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Trade Unions besides had a big part to the debut of child benefit and supported the alteration from billfold to purse. The TUC/Labour party commission in the early 1970 ‘s stated the benefit strategy must undertake the job of poorness and supply plenty to make this ( McCarthy, 1983 ) . Harmonizing to the CPAG policy briefing ( Bennett & A ; Dornan. 2006 ) the strategy was traveling to be excessively much money and the Labour authorities claimed the benefits debut would be postponed as of administrative and legislative jobs. In May 1976 intuitions grew that the Labour authorities was abandoning the strategy as they introduced the Child Interim Benefit to individual parents which was thought to be a impermanent proviso until the authorities had adequate financess to to the full present child benefit ( McCarthy, 1983 ) . It has been claimed the shelving of kid benefit could hold been due to James Callaghan wining as Prime Minister from Harold Wilson. Harmonizing to Field ( 1982 ) Callaghan did non back up an addition in household allowances in the 1960 ‘s. Callaghan believed the populace were against the benefit strategy as it meant a lessening in take place wage for work forces ( Field, 1982 ) . The Cabinet leaks by the CPAG nevertheless seemed to hold one of the largest impacts on the kid benefit strategy as it revived the political arguments on kid benefits. It revealed that the TUC had reacted severely to the fact that child benefit execution would cut down take place wage for work forces and they therefore became wholly against its debut despite the fact child benefit would convey income back up once more ( Field, 1982 ) . The Labour authorities decided to get rid of the strategy and were loath to travel against the TUC. Therefore the lead up to the execution of kid benefit has shown the manner authorities curates make determinations on societal policies. We can see from the literature that the authorities did non needfully do a determination on the demands of the populace but was the sentiments of the TUC dominated their determination. The leaks led to authorities embarrassment and a fleet alteration of head to implement child benefit. This shows Labour may hold introduced child benefit to maintain the public happy and to avoid being voted out.

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It appeared in the 1970 ‘s that there was a broad support for reforms of the Family allowance as the Labour and Conservative authoritiess supported alteration every bit good as the trade brotherhood motion. The proposal for the debut of kid benefit raised the topic of whether the monthly payment should be paid into the bag ( female parent ) or billfold ( male parent ) . With the old system work forces received all public assistance benefits for the household. The statement that the benefit should travel to the bag was so that the individual who chiefly cared for the kids could organize the household budget for the likes of nutrient and apparels ( McCarthy, 1983 ) . This can besides do certain that the money is spent on the kid and on points the kid demands ( Bennett & A ; Dornan, 2006 ) . Recent grounds from CPAG ( Bennett & A ; Dornan, 2006 ) claimed that kid benefit is regarded as extremely valuable to female parents. The benefit may besides be the lone formal income the female parent receives and is regarded as an ‘independent income ‘ for some female parents. It appears the displacement from billfold to purse was important statement in the debut of child benefits and was one of the chief grounds for alteration. The transportation was besides an issue for the trade brotherhoods where the bulk of members were male at this clip. There were sexist attitudes towards this move as work forces would lose out on their revenue enhancement allowances and hence became against kid benefits. However the alteration from billfold to purse did do sense and became implemented. Therefore this was an statement that public assistance for kids had to be improved and changed.

Since the debut of child benefit in 1977 there have been a figure of additions and alterations depending on the authorities in power. The largest alteration nevertheless since its debut will be the Conservative – Broad Democrat alliance reforms pledged in October 2010 and is an issue both parties seem to hold on. Harmonizing to Roberts ( 2010 ) { online } , the Liberals Democrats believe this move has been long delinquent. The policy proposes that if at least one individual in the family is paying the higher revenue enhancement rate gaining more than £43,875 per twelvemonth so that family will no longer be eligible to have the benefit. These cuts have caused public tumult. The alliances purposes are to cut public disbursement by an norm of 25 % across all sections excepting wellness and abroad developmental ( AVECO, 2010 ) { on-line } .

An on-going statement against the backdown of child benefits from higher rate taxpayers is that it is unjust, and the design of the policy is ill-defined. The media highlight this demoing how unfair the policy proposal is and will hit the in-between classes most. Ed Miliband in Labour resistance states how it is unreasonable that a individual gaining two wages merely under £43,875 can maintain their monthly payment but those gaining over this threshold when the other parent is non working will non have their benefit ( Prince, 2010 ) { on-line } . Harmonizing to the Comprehensive Spending Review by 2014-15 the cut in child benefit will be salvaging £2.5 billion a twelvemonth forestalling those on a lower income from subsidizing higher earners ( Spending Review, 2010 ) . It has been argued Child benefit is in some instances wasted as of its universalism and payment for every kid. For case even those who do non necessitate the excess income still have it. Further, it is argued it is ill-targeted across the board and wasted on those at the top terminal of the income graduated table instead than aiming those who are truly in desperate demand of that excess piece of income which the Conservative authorities believe are good adequate grounds to take Child benefit from higher earners. Therefore the policy reform comes from a right wing background which believes that the province should non be relied on by its citizens such as those who are better off and are able to supply for themselves. Whereas in 1977 kid benefit was seen as a corporate investing.

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The Labour party challenge the alliance cuts by informing that stay at place female parents will be the worst affected under this move. It is viewed every bit unjust as for illustration if a household has the chief breadwinner on a £45,00 pay and a female carer remaining at place to look after their kids, they will lose out on 1000s of lbs a twelvemonth for their household. Single earner households lose out the most ( Prince, 2010 ) { on-line } . The media claim 15 % of revenue enhancement remunerators will be affected by this alteration ( Prince, 2010 ) { on-line } . A farther statement holding that adult females will be the most affected by this is the fact that for some females child benefit is the lone signifier of income the female parent receives. Katherine Rake of the Family and Parenting Institute states that for some managing the household budget is the lone signifier of independency some female parents have ( Collins, 2010 ) { on-line } . With these reforms it seems the Coalition authorities are returning back to old ways, favoring male income which the old manner household allowances did.

Undoubtedly the policy is designed to salvage on public outgo and mark those who need it most. The policy nevertheless could make jobs within the household. It could be households 1000s as it could forestall those on a pay below the cut off from taking employment publicities which take them above the line ( Prince, 2010 ) { on-line } . When individual female parents enter a new relationship with a individual who is on the higher revenue enhancement rate pay which would take the eligibility for child benefit. Additionally the Labour MP Parmjit Dhanda commented on the reform stating twosomes may claim they are separated to avoid losing the payment as they feel they should be entitled to it. Check on this neo-liberalist reform would be hard and expensive and therefore execution could go hard as of the remotion of its universalism ( Chapman, 2010 ) { on-line } .

It is valuable to look at the policy from a historical and political position as it has shown how the policy has evolved and why the policy was implemented with the rise of kid poorness and a demand for a satisfactory signifier of child support. Cost is evidently a cardinal factor in the cuts nevertheless whether this cut is low-cost for the hereafter of kids remains to be seen. The reforms have brought about contention politically and publically as it has raised the topic of who is meriting of child benefit as it has now decided who receives it.

In decision kid benefit has hence become a success in Britain and has become relied on by many. The fact that kid benefit has lasted over 40 old ages shows this significance every bit good as the fact that it has angered many who will be losing out after the proposed alliance reforms.