07/10/2010

Cap On Benefits Will Encourage 'Responsibility'

The Culture Secretary has said the state should not support families who get more in benefits than the average family earns.

He said that introducing a new cap on family benefits will encourage "responsibility" about the number of children people have.

In his latest interview, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, told BBC's Newsnight the new ceiling was not a "penalty" on large families.

Following on from the party conference speech in Birmingham, Chancellor George Osborne has announced plans for a maximum limit on the amount of benefits a family can claim, with the exception of the disabled.

In the interest of fairness, Mr Hunt said no family would receive more in benefits than the average family got from going out to work.

He added: "The number of children that you have is a choice and what we're saying is that if people are living on benefits then they make choices but they also have to have responsibility for those choices.

"It's not going to be the role of the state to finance those choices."

Mr Hunt continued: "You can have children but if you are going to ask for support that is more than the average wage that people earn then we're saying no, the state shouldn't support that.

"That's not fair on working people who have to pay the taxes to pay those benefits."

He also stood by the right to withdraw previously universal child benefit from families where one parent was paying the higher rate of income tax.

He concluded: "If ever there was a week when the Conservative Party and the coalition demonstrated its commitment to fairness, it's this week when they removed child benefit from top-rate taxpayers."

(BMcN/KMcA)

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