Campaigners demand increase in child benefit

Campaigners marked six decades of financial support for families with children this weekend with a new campaign to increase and standardise child benefit.

The campaign, launched by the Child Poverty Action Group and backed by a coalition of other organisations including Barnardo’s and the Daycare Trust, calls on the government to increase child benefit and ensure that the same amount is paid for all siblings. Currently, child benefit is worth just £17.45 per week for the first child, and £11.70 for subsequent children.

The CPAG argues that a single, higher rate for child benefit is vital if the government wants to meet its targets to halve poverty by 2010 and eradicate it by 2020.

“Child benefit is popular, effective and reaches more children living in poverty than any other benefit or tax credit,” said CPAG chief executive Kate Green. “That’s why we are calling on the Chancellor to increase child benefit and ensure that younger children get the same rate as the oldest child. This would help support larger families, which is vital if child poverty is to be ended once and for all.”

The campaign was launched this weekend to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the child benefit’s predecessor, the family allowance, which was first paid to parents on 6 August 1946.

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