'Rich' label is wrong
9:51am Wednesday 16th January 2013 in Letters
ON reading the article ‘900 better-off families to lose in child benefit cuts’ in the Western Telegraph on January 9th, I feel a more accurate sub-headline should have read ‘MP reinforces attack on middle income families’, as opposed to the published ‘MP speaks up for low wage earners’.
I am disappointed, but not surprised, by the concluding comment in the article by my MP, Mr Simon Hart. He questions whether a Pembrokeshire worker on the minimum wage should ‘be paying the child benefit for those earning over £60,000’. However, Mr Hart is very much in favour of that same individual paying the child benefit of a family earning £100,000 per annum who will retain their child benefit in full!
I am one of the quoted 900 ‘better-off families’. With an income of £53,000 I will lose 30% Child Benefit for my three children. I have no issue with that whatsoever and I have no issue with the fact that this benefit ceases completely at £60,000. But, as with so many people like me, my issue is that this particular benefit, unlike all other benefits, is based on a single income and not the total household income.
I have three children, the oldest of which started in university last September.
The very substantial costs of higher education, coupled with the soaring cost of living and my three-year salary freeze, is having a very real impact on my family.
The attempts of members of parliament such as Mr Hart to label people like me as rich, in order to no-doubt enlist support from those earning less, is as shameful as the efforts by the same MPs to label every unemployed person in the UK as a scrounger or a shirker.
No reasonably intelligent person would argue against reform of the benefits system and similarly, every reasonable person should accept that cuts are inevitable given the state of the country’s finances. It is simply the unfairness of this particular benefit reform that has incensed the likes of me; a middle income family man, not a rich individual!
ALAN THOMAS Begelly