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Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has today looked to calm fears that the Coalition’s child benefit plans will prove unfair to single earners, having accepted that amendments need to be made in order to avoid ‘unintended consequences’.
The amendments to child benefits had come under attack at the weekend from shadow chancellor Ed Balls. Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Balls labelled the reforms as ‘really unfair’ and accused the Coalition of making ‘huge hits to family incomes’.
In his response, on the BBC Breakfast show, the Deputy Prime Minister spoke of the problem of creating ‘anomalies’ when benefit levels are restructured: ‘There’s a specific issue about how you administer the removal of child benefit from upper rate earners and we’ve always said we will look at exactly the way that that is administered.’
Clegg, however, refused to comment on what the actual cut-off point for child benefit would be, preferring to allow Chancellor George Osborne to announce the details in this year’s budget. Within the original proposals, single earners could have expected to lose child benefits with an income of above £42,475, but the Coalition is now poised to agree a higher threshold.
The plans are causing anxiety amongst the Conservative half of the Coalition in particular, with Kent MP Mark Reckless having labelled the policy as ‘toxic’ for the effects it could potentially have on Tory voters.
Image courtesy of Liberal Democrats' photostream: 'Meeting of European Liberal Democrats in Government'.