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Two children?

(73 Posts)
MiceElf Fri 02-Nov-12 16:36:20

The government is proposing that child benefit will only be paid for the first two children. Apart from the fact that this proposal will further disadvantage subsequent children, and that in many cases (although not all) large families are often living with a mother whose partner is not living with her, what do think of suggesting to the government that men with more than two children must have a vasectomy? It's equally daft.

baNANA Fri 02-Nov-12 17:11:05

I was watching Question Time, a week ago, and this very question came up, the Labour MP, Emily something or other deliberately skewed her answer to try and make a cynical political point by distorting the idea that this government now wants to tell people how many children they can have, just like China. Complete rubbish, she knew full well what is being mooted and that is the idea that benefit would only be paid for the first two children. Most people have to think long and hard as to whether they can afford to have any children at all and I don't see why the onus should not be put on to the individual to plan their family according to their needs, particularly as we are living in harsh economic times. From what I have read some of our young fear they may never be able to afford to a) get on the housing ladder or b) start a family why therefore should they be subsiding people who just go ahead and have many children and then throw themselves at the mercy of the state. Any plan to limit child benefit for the first two children, I hope would not be done retrospectively, but implemented at a future date so that people could plan accordingly. We are an extremely overcrowded island, we have acute housing shortages and large families are a luxury that many people know that they can't afford.

absentgrana Fri 02-Nov-12 17:25:04

I think this whole business about child benefit is quite ridiculous. Looking at the letters' pages in the right-wing press – why do I put myself through that – I feel like running amok with a Kalashnikov. (Dear policemen who like to monitor the internet and chat forums, that was a figure of speech not a statement of intent.)

Child benefit was introduced to help encourage people to have babies following World War II. I am not sure whether it began with only being paid for the second child or whether the payment for the second child was greater than that for the first. I do remember my mother saying how absurd the system was because the first baby is the expensive one and the second one (or subsequent ones) re-uses lots of costly equipment such as the high chair, cot, pram.

By the time I became a mum, the government had changed the tax system. Married people had been taxed as a couple (unless they deliberately chose otherwise) and a tax allowance for children was included in the calculation for tax of the main breadwinner – almost always the father. It was decided – rightly, I think – that instead of this tax allowance just disappearing into dad's pocket, it should be added to the child benefit which would be paid, by default, to the mother as the main carer. It also meant that those on very low incomes or the unemployed, who because they did not pay tax didn't get a tax allowance, were paid the same sum.

Now, unfortunately, child benefit is seen as scrounging. I think it's this government's (IDS in particular) plan to do away with it all together. Children are seen by some as a luxury and many of those who don't have them complain bitterly about a mouldy £20/£13 per week. So who do they think will cut their toenails, sweep their streets, teach their grandchildren, etc. etc. in the future?
[hissing and spitting emoticon]

Granny23 Fri 02-Nov-12 17:41:54

A neighbour of mine decided to have one more 'go' hoping for a boy after her two girls. She got more than she bargained for - twin boys - and some months later when she went to the doctor, bloated, dog tired and still waiting for her periods to return she discovered that she was 'accidently' pregnant again and within the year had another set of twins. She was/is a sensible, happily married, hard working woman whose husband had to go back to long distance lorry driving to fund their suddenly big family and they managed to cope somehow in a home that was too small for 8 of them. So much for being able to plan your family and limit it to what you can afford. I have the same sympathy for families who can easily cope with say four children and a large house until redundancy or illness strikes. Have they to be penalised too?

Nonu Fri 02-Nov-12 17:48:46

I remember when I was in hospital after having my twins ,being told that there would be a strong possibility of having another set . Seems that it sets something off in the body . Had a coil fitted double quick i can tell you . They are a joy BUT a lot of hard work . {smile]

whenim64 Fri 02-Nov-12 18:38:13

After struggling to conceive with our two sons, we gave ourselves a few years to produce a third child and conceived twins immediately! My twin daughters couldn't conceive naturally at all, so had IVF and both produced twins! Family planning? Nothing went to plan in my family - thank goodness grin

vampirequeen Sat 03-Nov-12 11:59:17

Call me a cynic but isn't this just the beginning of social engineering to cut the number of poor.

If we're going to limit the number of children born to the poor lets go the whole hog so they get the message. Only provide free education and nhs provision for the first two children. This won't affect the rich of course because they already pay for private healthcare and education but will stop the poor breeding.

jeni Sat 03-Nov-12 12:13:56

Do other countries have child benefit?

petallus Sat 03-Nov-12 12:19:29

Yes, vampirequeen, like withholding information on birth control when it was required that the working class increase their number.

Anyhow, if someone has four children, by accident or design, and then falls on hard times, we can hardly allow two children in that family to starve.

We would be punishing the children, who must be blameless, rather than the parents.

petallus Sat 03-Nov-12 12:20:33

I suppose some countries don't jeni but then we have gangs of children living rough in the street, starving to death and so on.

vampirequeen Sat 03-Nov-12 12:50:45

If we start to control the number of children a woman can have then nothing is sacred. Laws could be passed to control everything we do. What we eat and drink. What we are allowed to wear. Where we go.

Do we segregate the poor? Let's set up some ghettos. Still too many? What about forced sterilisations? A lot of the elderly will come into to poor catagory. Pensions are a terrible drain on the country's wealth and the elderly contribute nothing so what about euthenasia. That will solve that problem. If we reduce the number born and increase the speed they die we can cut the number of poor very quickly.

Extreme? Maybe but a logical progression.

Ana Sat 03-Nov-12 12:55:46

Well, they're not proposing to control the number of children a woman can have, are they? They're just saying you won't get child benefit for more than two. If you can afford to have more, fine - if not, I'm sure the shortfall would be made up by income support or tax credits anyway.

vampirequeen Sat 03-Nov-12 16:00:41

But they're splitting people into the suitable to have more than two and the unsuitable along the lines of income. If you have money you can have as many children as you want and if you don't then tough.

If they want to limit the number of children we have then at least be honest about it. Perhaps they know something we don't and we do have to reduce our population but again be honest and treat us as adults rather than use this us and them ploy.

If I remember correctly this current financial crisis was caused by the bankers not the poor yet the poor seem to be the scapegoats.

Ana Sat 03-Nov-12 16:09:30

'In the 2012 Budget, the Chancellor announced a revised plan to steadily withdraw child benefit from families where one parent earns more than £50,000. This is achieved on a sliding scale and once the higher earner’s income exceeds £60,000, child benefit is lost altogether.'

So at least they're starting at the top!

baNANA Sat 03-Nov-12 16:31:51

The proposal is, child benefit for the first two children. There is no suggestion that people cannot have as many children as they like. Most have to look at their financial situation to see what size family they can afford, and many have to put if off until later than they would like. That's the way it is for the majority and surely that is what responsibility is all about. Large families are fine if the children are parented well, but if they are to be born to parents who do not know how to raise them and who do not give them a reasonable childhood and this reduction in benefit would make them think twice before extending their family, then I for one think that would be a good thing. As far as pensions are concerned, the elderly have contributed throughout their working life and they are entitled to every penny. Personally I find the Liverpool Pathway far more disturbing than limiting child benefit to two children.

merlotgran Sat 03-Nov-12 16:58:58

The Liverpool Pathway scares me as well, baNana. Knowing that my mother probably does not have very long now I am praying she will die peacefully in her sleep like her mother and sister. Even if she has to go back into hospital I don't want her to die of dehydration. We all have to go when our time is up but surely not by the withdrawl of fluids?

baNANA Sat 03-Nov-12 17:01:15

merlotgran, I agree about the withdrawal of fluids what an awful thing to do to an animal let alone a human being.

merlotgran Sat 03-Nov-12 17:18:03

My brother's MIL died from a massive stroke. When they got to the hospital they had to insist she was put on a drip. It was obvious she was not going to survive but they couldn't bear the thought of her not being given a chance.

janeainsworth Sat 03-Nov-12 17:19:14

merlot The withdrawal of fluids does sound horrible, I know.
But the Liverpool Care Pathway was developed to try to ensure that people died with dignity and in as little discomfort as possible.
The withdrawal of fluids means that there is no fluid build up in the lungs which is very distressing.
It is a pity that something which was intended to benefit patients and their families has been abused to the extent that people are now so suspicious of it. The original intention was that it should only be started with the full informed consent of the patient and the family.
As far as child benefit is concerned, I agree with absent that it was originally in lieu of a tax allowance and was fair in that it was also paid to low-income families and to the mother. So removing it is another stealth tax.

whenim64 Sat 03-Nov-12 18:26:37

I've said elsewhere that my sister was put on the Care Pathway. She had a 'Care of the Dying' palliative care plan, and discussed everything with nurses, her husband and her consultant before she went to stay in the hospice. They explained it to wider family too, and reviewed it daily, together with her husband and hospice nurses. The withdrawal of fluids worked well for her, as it stopped the drowning sensation she had started experiencing, and with her morphine driver and another barbiturate used at the end of life, she was comfortable and peaceful, with us there to hold her hand for over a fortnight, and nurses keeping a close eye on her wellbeing. If she had shown any sigs of recovery, she would have come off it immediately, as have other cancer patients who showed signs of improvement.

This recent controversy has caused my BIL such distress, because he says we were all willing participants to fluids being stopped (they were given to her via a stomach peg as she had a trachy) but the accusations about starvation or thirst didn't apply for her situation. I wish the papers would be fairer in setting out their argument. Of course not involving family and withdrawing fluids inappropriately is wrong, but for many people it has given them the peaceful end they wanted. I reassure my BIL every few days when we speak, so I hope the proposed changes about involving family finally convince him that the controversy has come about because doctors didn't practise as well as they did for my sister.

granjura Sat 03-Nov-12 18:52:49

And not so long ago, was the totally natural way chosen by so many elderly and ill people who just had had enough. They would naturally stop/refuse food and then drink, and quietly slip away.

My thoughts are with you Merlot - watching somebody we love depart this world can be very distressing.

But we digress - perhaps back to the subject of benefits for 2 children only.

merlotgran Sat 03-Nov-12 18:59:33

Thanks for the information jane and whenim. I think the controversy concerns relatives not being informed or consulted until it's too late. All we seem to hear about is the elderly being neglected in hospital no wonder families are worried and confused. There are probably hundreds of cases where the LCP has been the right decision but we just don't hear about them.

It sounds as though it was absolutely the right thing for your sister, when.

jeni Sat 03-Nov-12 19:10:52

There is an interesting article in the BMJ about the care pathway

Bags Sat 03-Nov-12 19:29:25

My first husband has two children. My second has one child. I have all three. How would that work? Is it only women who "have" children (you know what I mean!), or do men's children count too? Is it two per family unit or two per woman? What counts as a family unit?

Loadza questions.

Answers, anyone?

jeni Sat 03-Nov-12 19:58:12