British PM Cameron speaks during a visit to a nursery. The prime minister warns that claimants with three or more children may start to lose access to benefits. REUTERS photo
British Prime Minister David Cameron
is thinking to take child benefit and other state support from jobless families if they have three or more children as part of a drive to slash $15 billion from the welfare bill, according to British Daily Mirror.
The bill is expected to discourage poor families from having more than two children. “It’s not a marginal point. There are more than 150,000 people claiming income support for over a year who have three or more children and 57,000 who have four or more children,” he is expected to say in today’s speech.
Cameron also proposed scrapping rent subsidies for Britons under 25, worth around $135 a week, likely to strain his Conservative Party’s coalition with the Liberal Democrats for the second time in a week. Requiring almost 400,000 low-paid and unemployed young Britons to live with their parents if they cannot afford market rents could save just under $3.1 billion a year, Cameron said in an interview with the Mail on June 24. While Cameron said there would be exemptions to any ban on housing benefits for under-25s in special cases, such as for those suffering from domestic violence, he argued that the current benefits system reduced incentives for people to work.
“The system currently sends the signal you are better off not working, or working less. It encourages people not to work and have children, but we should help people to work and have children,” he was quoted as saying, according to Reuters. The Conservatives and the center-left Liberal Democrats formed a coalition in May 2010, and have regular public disagreements, though weak ratings for both parties limit any incentive to end the coalition before elections must be held in 2015.
One of Cameron’s main themes in the 2010 election campaign was “Big Society,” which aimed to encourage voluntary community work. Since the coalition took power, its major focus has been reducing Britain’s budget deficit, which peaked at over 156 billion pounds in 2009/10 or 11 percent of GDP.