The Child Benefit proposal is a vote-winnerPosted on October 10, 2010
The child benefit hoo-hah over the last few days is understandable. It’s controversial, communications within the Cabinet clearly weren’t as hot as they should have been and – inexplicably – it was launched before obvious potential loopholes had been spotted and sorted out. As a result particularly of those unsealed loopholes it has been pretty roundly panned, particularly in the Mail, Telegraph and Express.
However, I think the media have called this one wrong – this idea has the potential to be a big vote-winner. In the words of one lobby editor I spoke to on Monday, the papers swiftly resolved to “pour a bucket of shit over the idea”. As Guido points out, this may in part be because many of those writing our papers are on more than £44k, so are themselves going to lose out from the policy. Whatever the reason, there is now definitive evidence that their assumption that this was an unpopular idea is mistaken.
According to YouGov there is massive 83% support for the principle of the policy. Interestingly, on its implementation (where there have been some screw-ups) the only real concern comes from the 46% of people who want fully-fledged means testing introduced – a much more radical suggestion. Instead of the predicted popular backlash, the Government’s real challenge is that they aren’t going far enough for many people.