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Child benefit cuts for better off

Government in favour of linking benefits to earnings, but critics say it is the death of ‘universality’ of treatment

CHILD benefit will be cut for better-off households under plans by the government.

The government plans to link child benefit with earnings, along with cutting payments by a third for a third child and reducing parental leave.

The plans set a ceiling of €6,000 of income for a couple with two children. From this level, child benefit will be halved, and from €8,000 it will be quartered.

Every supplementary child will have a benefit ceiling of €500.

The plans have already been attacked by one family association, the Union nationale des associations familiales (Unaf).

Unaf president François Fondard said: “The principle of universality was already fragile. This reform signs its death certificate and transforms our family and social politics.”

The measure would save the government €400m in the first year following its introduction in July 2015, and €800m the next.

“It’s a measure of social justice,” MP Marie-Françoise Clergeau, who is leading the family section of the 2015 budget, told Les Echos.

“We are letting families with modest means and middle incomes hold on to their spending power.”

She denied it meant an end to the universality of the benefit as “All families will receive benefits.”

The idea has the support of Prime Minister Manual Valls who yesterday described it as a “measure of justice.”

His office said only 13% of families receiving the benefit would be affected.

Maternal leave will also be reduced from 30 to 24 months for the third child onwards and paternal leave will fall from 12 to six months.

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