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Sunday, 28 April, 2002, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
Q&A: Child benefit
Parents of unruly teenagers could have their child benefit taken away under new proposals to crack down on youth crime. BBC News Online explains what they stand to lose.

How much is child benefit?

Child benefit is 15.50 every week for a first-born child - except for lone parents, who receive 17.55.

For each subsequent child, there is an additional weekly payment of 10.55. The money is not taxed.

Who can receive it?

Available for every child in the UK below the age of 16, child benefit is paid to the parent directly responsible for care of the youngster.

Those in full-time education remain eligible until the age of 19, but the cut-off point for children registered for work or training is 18.

How many parents claim it?

Child benefit is taken up by nearly 100% of the eligible population.

What does it cost in total?

In 2000, more than 7bn was spent on child benefit.

Who pays for it?

It is funded by general taxation.


On the assumption the vast majority of the population will benefit from the money at some point.

It is seen as a economical because it avoids the expense of means testing.

What about those on higher incomes?

As it is tax free, child benefit is worth more to rich people on the higher tax band.

But it can count against poorer families as it is taken into account when calculating income support, housing benefit and other financial assistance.

Whose idea was that?

After World War II, bringing up several children was encouraged to restore the birth rate.

And in 1945 the Family Allowance was introduced provide benefit for second and subsequent children.

What about the first-borns?

In 1975, then Labour social affairs secretary Barbara Castle put forward the Child Benefit Act proposing additional benefit for the first child.

And between 1977 and 1979, child benefit replaced the Family Allowance and Child Tax Allowance.

Parents of unruly teenagers could have their child benefit taken away - what do you think of the idea?Benefit threat
Is youth crime idea workable?
See also:

28 Apr 02 | UK Politics
Parents of tearaways could lose benefit
24 Apr 02 | UK Politics
Blair sets street crime deadline
16 Apr 02 | UK Politics
Blunkett targets young criminals
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