Child benefit should be limited to four children per household from 2016, according to a report from the right wing think tank Policy Exchange.
The think tank estimates over £1bn could be saved by cutting the benefit for larger families and by limiting rises in child benefit to 1% for first and third children over the next parliament and to 2% for second children. They say the rate for fourth children should remain at next year’s level for the rest of the next parliament. They propose the benefit should be scrapped for fifth and subsequent children from April 2016.
Policy Exchange says there is public support for the change, based on a YouGov poll it commissioned which found more than two thirds of people support scrapping the benefit for fifth and subsequent children, with Conservatives most likely to suppor the move.
Steve Hughes, author of the report, said: “The chancellor has suggested that annual welfare savings of £12bn will have to be found to avoid further and faster cuts to departmental budgets. Choosing where this money comes from is not easy, but with such high levels of public support, capping child benefit at four children and redesigning payment levels offers a very real opportunity to generate some much needed savings in the fairest way possible.”