James Forsyth

The perverse incentives of the benefits system

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A new analysis by the charity Care shows how the benefits system penalises people for staying together.  As the Daily Mail notes in its report on it

“A husband and wife with two children and earning nearly £35,000 a year between them – well above the average income – are now the biggest losers for keeping their family together.

If they were to live apart they would be better off by £186 a week – an increase in the money they can spend of nearly 60 per cent.”  Care looked at 98 families with different incomes and numbers of children to see whether they would be better off apart or together. They found that 76 would have more money if they split. Considering how important a stable family background is to a child’s development and prospects in life, it is madness that the State is offering—however unwittingly—financial incentives to couples with children to live apart.  

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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