Attack on Child Benefit

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2015 National Women's Conference
13 October 2014

This conference believes that child benefit is one of the most valuable and important planks of the British welfare state.

Together with a national health service and maintenance of employment, a universal children’s allowance was one of the three pillars of the welfare state set out by william beveridge in his seminal 1942 report.

Since 1946, when the first family allowance order books became valid, mothers have received a payment from the state for at least their second child – irrespective of family income.

Introduced to help alleviate poverty for women and children, the most important aspect of the benefit is that it is paid directly to the mother.

According to a 2012 survey from the child poverty action group (scotland), families in Scotland are more likely to spend child benefit on clothes, food and nappies than in the UK as a whole. Across the UK, the report finds parents increasingly using child benefit to pay for essentials, and parents expressing anger and disbelief at current cuts to the benefit.

The decision by the coalition government to effectively freeze the benefit, means test it and remove its universality, is regressive and unfair and will directly affect women and children throughout the uk.

Conference is, therefore, dismayed that the Labour party has decided to continue with the freeze and ensures that children are continuing to pay for a deficit not of their making.

Conference calls on the National Women’s Committee to work with the labour link committee to lobby the labour party to rethink its decision and, if elected in 2015, lift the freeze and reinstate the universal nature of this crucial benefit.