Osborne faces revolt over top earners’ loss of child benefit

SHADOW chancellor Ed Balls has called on the government to ditch its plan to cut child tax benefit for higher rate taxpayers.

Chancellor George Osborne’s controversial cuts – scheduled for January 2013 – would affect around 1.2m families where one household member earns more than £42,475 a year. However couples earning a joint income of up to £84,000 could get to keep the payout of £20.30 for a first child and £13.40 for further siblings if neither one is above the cut-off point.

Before today’s key Commons debate, Balls spoke out against the scheme, which would claw back an estimated £1bn a year. “It cannot be right that a two-earner family each earning £42,000 would keep all their child benefit, but a single-earner family on £43,000 would lose it all at a stroke,” he said.

Describing the changes as “perverse anomalies” he added: “George Osborne should have thought this through, rather than rushing into mistaken policies.”

The coalition faces revolt from its own ranks as Tory MPs have threatened to vote against the Budget legislation. The rebellion has led to rumours the government might consider increasing the cut off point.