Martyn Day MP welcomes Spring Budget announcement on the High-Income Child Benefit Charge

POLITICAL OPINION - This item has been submitted on behalf of Martyn Day MP of the SNPSince 2019, the MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, Martyn Day, has been campaigning at Westminster about an unfair UK Government policy, the High-Income Child Benefit Charge.

Introduced in January 2013, the High-Income Child Benefit Charge has maintained its income thresholds for payment despite rising inflation, the cost-of-living crisis, and a disconnect with the high-rate taxpayers threshold.

The policy also puts a family with one high-income earner at a financial disadvantage to a two-earner family, discourages claims to child benefit, and means that stay-at-home parents with a high-income partner often lose out on vital National Insurance Contributions because of the associated bureaucracy.

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Over the years Mr Day has tabled numerous Parliamentary Questions, presented a Public Petition, and secured a Backbench Business Debate on the issue.

Martyn Day MPMartyn Day MP
Martyn Day MP

In January 2024 the money saving expert, Martin Lewis, finally persuaded the Chancellor to acknowledge the “unfairness” of the policy, which led an announcement in last week's budget statement. This shifted the High-Income Child Benefit Charge threshold from £50,000 to £60,000 from April 2024; and the top of the taper at which it is withdrawn from £60,000 to £80,000.

Commenting, Mr Day said:

“I am delighted that the unfairness of this policy has now been acknowledged, even though it took an intervention from a high-profile financial expert to bring about much needed change. I thank Martin Lewis for raising this issue and agree that it is a ‘win’.

"Nonetheless, it still falls well below a £67,000 or £71,774 threshold, which is what it would be if the £50,000 threshold since 2013 had been upgraded in line with inflation or with average wages respectively.

“I welcome that there will be a consultation on whether to change Child Benefit eligibility to being based on household, rather than individual, income by April 2026; despite recently raising this and being advised that this 'would pose administrative burdens on households'.

“However, it is disappointing that there was nothing in the Chancellor’s Statement that offers meaningful change for the millions of people in Scotland who are really struggling."