Proposed changes to Child Benefit

Child Benefit was originally Family Allowance introduced in 1946 from the Act of 1945 and was first mentioned in the Beveridge Report 1942. This report also lead to the expansion of National Insurance contributions and the creation of the NHS. In 1946 you would not receive any benefit for your first child, only for your second and subsequent children. I believe this was a means of encouraging people to have more than one child, so to build up the UK population after the 2 world wars of World War I and World War II. I can not, however find anything to confirm this, except

“15. The plan is based on a diagnosis of want. It starts from facts, from
the condition of the people as revealed by social surveys between the two
wars. It takes account of two other facts about the British community,
arising out of past movements of the birth rate and the death rate, which
should dominate planning for its future ; the main eUects of these movements
in determining the present and future of the British people are shown by
Table XI in para. 234. The first of the two facts is the age constitution of
the population, making-it certain that persons past the age that is now
regarded as the end of working life will be a much larger proportion of the
whole community than at any time in the past. The second fact is the low
reproduction rate of the British community today : unless this rate is raised
very materially in the near future, a rapid and continuous decline of the
population cannot be prevented. The first 7act makes it necessary to seek
ways of postponing the age of retirement from work rather than of hastening
it. The second fact makes it imperative to give first place in social expenditure
to the care of childhood and to the safeguarding of maternity.”

This is an extract from Cabinet Papers 20 November 1942, the papers relate to the Social Insurance and Allied Services , the specific section being Part 1 section 15.

On viewing these papers the problems relating to the amount of people approaching retirement or in retirement to those approaching to commence work or working was a major concern.  A problem which is still of concern today and I am sure many other of today’s problems could also be shown as to be of concern.

It was not until 1977 that the benefit was paid for the first child.

It is evident that the intension was for this benefit to be only paid to UK citizens, as it was well before the formation of the Common Market, now the European Union and the Human Rights Act.

These days nobody needs encouragement to have children and therefore the time is right to amend the criteria of entitlement. No one should be expecting the state to be responsible for their own actions.

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