Labour slams efforts to cut child benefit

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MORE officials are being used to implement child benefit cuts than chase down wealthy tax cheats, Labour claimed ahead of the introduction of the change.

Answers to parliamentary questions showed 475 staff would be required from January to administer removal of payments from higher-earning parents at a cost of £12 million.

They were also expected to be diverted from other areas as the government had said it was not recruiting new staff to deal with the change, Labour claimed.

By contrast, an HM Revenue and Customs’ “affluent unit” tasked with ensuring full tax was recouped from rich individuals had only 300 staff, it added.

Under the new rules, families where one parent earns between £50,000 and £60,000 will have their benefit reduced on a sliding scale, and stand to lose the benefit completely when a parent earns more than £60,000.

Shadow chief secretary Rachel Reeves said: “How can it be fair that single earner families on £50,000 will see child benefit cut, while some couples earning as much as £100,000 will keep theirs and people on over £150,000 actually get a tax cut?”

A Treasury aide said: “These figures are partial and disingenuous. They also ignore the fact the coalition is investing nearly 
£1 billion extra across various sections of HMRC to combat evasion and aggressive avoidance including hiring an extra 2,500 staff on top of what we 
already have.”