TEXT OF STORY
STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Britain is the first big economy to tackle its budget deficit by cutting public spending. Perhaps showing the U.S. what it could face as it tries to move closer to a balanced budget. Now the British government announced it would scrap a welfare benefit paid to everyone whether they need it or not.
From London, here’s Marketplace’s Stephen Beard.
STEPHEN BEARD: Every family in Britain can claim a benefit to help them bring up their kids — around $30 a week for the first-born, $20 a week for every subsequent child. You can claim it whether you’re rich or poor.
But finance chief George Osborne says that with a huge budget deficit, this is something Britain can no longer afford. He’s scrapping child benefit for anyone who earns over $68,000 a year. Speaking at his annual party conference, Osborne said the move is regrettable, but necessary.
GEORGE OSBORNE: In much better times, you wouldn’t have to take a decision like this. But we have had to take it and we think it’s fair. And it shows that all parts of our society — including those who are better off — will make a contribution.
Supporters of these benefits for all say they make it less humiliating for the needy to claim them. But more of these universal handouts are likely to get the chop, like free bus passes for everyone over the age of 60 and an allowance to pay for winter fuel.
In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.