Politics

Sunak pledges to keep child benefit cap if Tories win next election

Rishi Sunak has revealed he will keep the two-child benefit cap if the Conservatives win the next election.

The policy limits the benefits parents on Universal Credit can claim for their children.

Writing in The Sun on Sunday, the prime minister said: “Working families do not see their incomes rise when they have more children.

“Families on benefits should be asked to make the same financial decisions as those supporting themselves solely through work.”

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Mr Sunak confirmed the pledge to keep the cap, which was introduced in 2017, would be in the Tory election manifesto.

This is the second manifesto commitment the Conservatives have made public, with the first being to keep the triple lock on pensions.

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It would reportedly cost an estimated £1.5bn to lift the cap.

Over the years, some Labour Party MPs and charities have called for the cap to be scrapped, but Sir Keir Starmer has previously stated that the party would not overturn the cap under his leadership.

Child benefit is money paid to parents or guardians who are responsible for raising a child.

There are no specific age rules for the person making the claim, and it isn’t means-tested.

It is paid at two different rates: £24 a week for your eldest child and £15.90 a week for each other child.

But, you can be liable for a tax charge if you earn over a certain amount.

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High income child benefit charge threshold raised to £60,000

Under the current rules, if either you or your partner have an individual income of £50,000 or more and you receive child benefit, you are liable to pay the high-income child benefit tax charge.

The charge is equal to 1% of the total child benefit received for every £100 earned over £50,000.

Once you earn £60,000, the charge equals all the benefits you’d receive, so you get nothing.

However, Jeremy Hunt announced a rise in the threshold in the spring budget, increasing them to £60,000 (that’s when you start losing out) and £80,000 (when you get nothing) respectively.

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From 6 April, you’ll be charged 1% of your child benefit for every £200 of income that exceeds £60,000 – up until £80,000.

Earlier this week, the prime minister said that people who are fit to work but do not accept job offers will have their benefits taken away after 12 months.

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Outlining his plans to reform the welfare system if the Conservatives win the next general election, Mr Sunak said “unemployment support should be a safety net, never a choice” as he promised to “make sure that hard work is always rewarded”.

Mr Sunak said his government would be “more ambitious about helping people back to work and more honest about the risk of over-medicalising the everyday challenges and worries of life” by introducing a raft of measures in the next parliament.

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