Headlines: January 25th, 2001

The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) is welcoming plans to modernise the system of benefits surrounding children.Its study into the proposal shows that it should deliver Government objectives aimed at directing maximum support to children in poverty.

From April, children will be supported through the tax and benefit system by four different mechanisms: income support, the working families’ tax credit, and the new children’s tax credit.

The fourth, child benefit, goes to all families, regardless of income, but the Government has recently announced that it will unify the three means tested elements of child support, and it’s this proposal that the IFS has studied.

The IFS say that the changes will affect six million families, and massively extend means-testing.

But it points out that it could be successful in driving benefits towards the bottom end of income distribution.

It also suggests that if the child credit goes to the main carer in couples, usually the mother, this may further increase children’s’ well-being.

The Commentary on the proposals is available from the IFS at 15 pounds for IFS members and 20 pounds for non-members. email mailbox@ifs.org.uk.

Link: www.ifs.org.uk

Link: www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/budget2000/taxcredit.pdf.