More than 900 west Wales families have been contacted to say that they may no longer qualify for full child benefit payments following a controversial Government shake-up.

Five hundred families in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, along with 410 households in Preseli Pembrokeshire, are set to lose at least some of the payment.

Child benefit is paid at £20.30 per week for the first child and £13.40 per week for each child after that.

The move follows the Government’s decision to end the payment for all families that have one parent earning more than £60,000.

Families who have one parent earning more than £50,000 will have to repay 1% per £100 earned over the £50,000 threshold.

But, in a widely criticised move, if both parents are working and earn just below the £50,000 threshold, they can continue to claim the benefit despite receiving a combined income of nearly £100,000.

One businessman from Haverfordwest, who will lose part of his child benefit, told the Western Telegraph: “You see this figure of £50,000 and instantly assume that person is rich but I can assure you that we are not. We have a single income to support three children and all parents will understand how expensive that will be.

“We have a mortgage, the cars to run and the usual bills which are going up and up. There is not a lot left over at the end of the month as it is and this will not help at all.”

But South county MP Simon Hart, who has voluntarily opted out of receiving the payment, defended the move.

He added: “When you sit down and think about it there’s no reason why someone living in Pembrokeshire and earning a minimum wage should be paying the child benefit for those earning over £60,000.”