Merton mothers feel force of child benefit cuts


Parents provide mixed response to cuts


By Tom Hamilton, Charles Perrin, Chiara Clarke, Sophie Bridgland and Josh Hershman

Controversial child benefit cuts received a diverse response from the Merton community last week.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced plans to axe child benefits for higher rate taxpayers.

The cuts, to be introduced in 2013, mean that the 1.2 million people who live in households where someone earning more than £44,000 a year will lose their child benefits.

Labour Councillor for Abbey Ward, Andrew Judge, said: “This cut in child benefits affects a huge proportion of our constituency.

“In my opinion, this is the first step of the current government lowering the cap to affect more and more people with an intention to eventually abolish child benefits.

Mr Judge added: “Child benefits are essential to our families. We have experienced a huge growth in young families and with housing costs on the rise; this new cap is an abomination.”

This view was echoed by Annie Seabourne, manager of £1300-a-month Crown Day Nursery.

She said: “Cuts should be made from other areas rather than child benefits.

“It puts you in a difficult situation as a manager if you start getting children coming in hungry and poorly looked after.

“It worries me that it won’t be long until further cuts affect other mothers too.”

However, father-of-four Will Hutchinson supports the policy and feels it will prove to be advantageous for the borough.

He said: “It’s better if they make these cuts back than putting up the VAT to 20% or corporation tax which will affect more people on a wider spectrum.

 “They’ve got to take it from somewhere and taking it from higher earners is the best way of doing it.”

Chairman for the Liberal Democrats, Anthony Fairclough, believes these cuts are beneficial to the area and to the majority of the constituents.

Newly-formed Dee Day’s Nursery said the true impact of the cuts on parents in Wimbledon is unknown at present but may lead to difficulties in the future.


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