Tories hamstrung on welfare reform


PatrickOflynn.jpgUKIP Economic Spokesman Patrick O'Flynn today accused the Chancellor George Osborne of not being serious about welfare reform.

He spoke out after it emerged that the Tories are split about whether to copy UKIP's policy that future child benefit claims should be limited to the first two children in any family.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is reported to want to adopt wholesale the policy, which was unveiled at UKIP's party conference in September. But Chancellor Mr Osborne is reported to be opposing it.

Mr O'Flynn said: "George Osborne was quite happy to remove child benefit entitlement from more than a million hardworking British families. Indeed, he initially proposed to take it away from millions more as part of his fiscal war on middle class households.

"At the same time he has been happy to keep paying child benefit funded by British taxpayers to the children of non-British nationals, many of whom do not even reside in Britain but in cities like Warsaw or Bucharest.

"So it is perplexing to read that he is not prepared to say that future child benefit claims should be limited to two children. Not imposing such a limit means preserving a financial incentive for people who are not in a position to financially support large families to have large families.

"In my view it is just plain common sense to say - especially given the size of the deficit and the national debt - that child benefit should be limited to two children and that if you want more than that then it is up to you to take responsibility for financially supporting them rather than expecting taxpayers to pay extra child benefit.

"If Iain Duncan Smith has reached the correct conclusion that UKIP has the best policy on this, then as the lead minister in the field of welfare, surely the Prime Minister should be supporting him.

"My message to the Tory high command is: let IDS adopt UKIP's idea on limiting child benefit or you risk undermining his whole welfare reform agenda."

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