New analysis from UNISON reveals that instead of cutting taxes for millionaires in the budget, the government could end the child benefit freeze, giving up to 895,850 families in the north west increased child benefit in line with inflation.
The decision would make a difference of up to £200 a year to 461,115 families in Northern Ireland with two children, and more than £100 a year for the 434,735 families with one child, helping to ease growing levels of child poverty.
New figures from the TUC last week showed that more than half a million children in the UK will slip into poverty by the 2015.
The u-turn would also have a huge knock on effect by stimulating local economies. Unlike millionaires, low paid families spend most of their money in local shops and businesses and they have precious little left over to save.
UNISON is calling on the government to make the right choice in the budget next week (20 March), with targeted help for hard-pressed families.
North West Regional Secretary Kevan Nelson, said:
“The true blue Tory-led coalition is a government of the rich for the rich. It is a disgrace that child poverty is growing in the UK because of benefit and welfare cuts, whilst millionaires are being handed tax cuts.
“Low paid families cannot afford to save. Restoring child benefit levels would lead to more spending in local shops and businesses, giving our beleaguered high streets the boost they need.”
The government’s decision to cut the 50p rate of tax would hand the 13,000 millionaires in the UK an average of £97,884.62 next year, at a cost to the Treasury of £1,272.5 million.
If this tax had been collected, it could have funded an increase to child benefit – in line with CPI inflation – for the first two children in every family, effectively helping 12,049,360 children and nearly 8 million families.
A family with one child will get £114.50 a year less than they would have received if child benefit had been raised in line with CPI.
A family with two children will get £190.09 a year less, and a family with three children is £265.66 a year worse off.