IDS plans 'two-child' family benefit cap
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Local Government
IDS plans to cap child benefits for families with more than two children
Families claiming child-related benefits may find the amount they are entitled to capped at two children, the work and pensions secretary said today.
Iain Duncan Smith is due to touch on the measure in a speech to the Cambridge Public Policy think tank later today in which he will argue that Government’s response to social breakdown in the past has been a classic case of "patching" – i.e. handing out money to contain problems.
This, he will say, has to change.
He'll say later: "...if we are committed to a radical overhaul, there is scope to scrutinise the existing system further still, driving out perverse incentives."
However, ahead of the speech and prompted by BBC Radio 4 as to how the cap would work in principle, Mr Duncan Smith said: “My view is that if you did this you would start it for those who begin to have more than, say, two children. It’s about the amount of money you pay to support how many children. What is clear to the general public is they make decisions on what they can afford for the number of children they have – that’s the nature of what we all do. It’s about principle and fairness, not just about saving money.”
This is the first time the Government has put a number on the amount of children the cap would apply to.
He added: “We want to support people if they have children when they’re out of work of course but what we’re also saying is, is there an endless point to this? Can there not be a limit to the fact that you need to remember you have to cut your cloth in accordance with what capabilities and what finances you have."
In his speech to the Cambridge Public Policy think tank today he will say the Government is taking its lead from Beveridge.
He will say: “In all this, we take our lead from Beveridge. His guiding belief, that a ‘revolutionary moment in the world's history is a time for revolutions, not for patching’ is as true now as it was in the 1940s.
"All too often, Government’s response to social breakdown has been a classic case of ‘patching’ – a case of handing money out… containing problems and limiting the damage… but supporting – even reinforcing – dysfunctional behaviour.
“Yet if we are committed to a radical overhaul, there is scope to scrutinise the existing system further still, driving out perverse incentives.
“First, you have to ask which bits of the system are most important in changing lives.
“And you have to look at which parts of the system promote positive behaviours, and which are actually promoting destructive ones.
“Should families expect never ending amounts of money for every child… when working households must make tough choices about what they can afford?
“Is it right that young people should be able to move directly from school to a life on housing benefit, without finding a job first… when so many of their peers live at home, working hard to save up for a flat?”