YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun got people hugely excited over the headline figure of 83% backing the child benefit changes last night – but the actual story is more nuanced than that.

The principle of limiting child child benefit so people on higher incomes don’t receive it is hugely popular, with 83% of people supporting it and only 15% opposed. However, that question was about the principle of the policy. YouGov then asked about the practicalities of the policy, and the way that a couple both earning £30k would keep child benefit, while a couple where only one worked and earned £44k would not. 41% of people agreed that this was a fair compromise given the cost of fully means testing child benefit, but 46% thought it was unfair and that the policy should be based on a proper means-test. So the principle of the policy is extremely popular, but people are split over the implementation of it.

I’ve seen a lot of assumptions that the 15% who oppose it is the 15% or so of people who will be directly affected, it’s a lazy assumption that almost certainly isn’t true. Look at the cross breaks of any poll and you’ll find people do not vote nearly as much with their pocketbooks as you’d think. Obviously in most cases people who suffer from a policy are more likely to oppose it and people who benefit from it are more likely to support it, but it is rarely if ever black and white. There aren’t income cross breaks in the table, but looking at the other cross breaks, 21% of Labour supporters oppose the idea, compared to 9% of Conservative supporters. 18% of ABC1s oppose it, but so do 10% of C2DEs.

416 Responses to “83% support limiting child benefit, BUT…”

1 5 6 7 8 9
  1. Sue

    “I had you in mind ”

    Thanks .

    I hope you find peace of mind away from all this hypocrisy. ;-)

  2. Sue

    Your recent posts brought back to me the hopelessness I felt in 1985 (still do), which is indescribable. Yes, your work elsewhere will be much more useful than on here but I will miss your contributions immensely. You have had your effect of course.

  3. “Google it now and then ”

    I certainly will, Sue M, and leave a comment if I ever think of anything amusing.

    Hypocrisy stinks. There’s now one less reason to read comments here

  4. Colin and Billy
    One would expect, the educated ex-agriculturalists to have at least a better sense of place. I was just talking to my dentist’s receptionist about deregistering my son who now lives in Bristol. I asked her if her chain had a branch there. She looked on her computer and then asked me ‘near which town is Bristol?’.

  5. @ John Fletcher

    I will grant you that the good life sounds too glitzy so I could have been misunderstood. Change what I said to a decent life, that should be more succinct. However without entering into an unending ideological battle, the differences between the way I think and the way you do is what makes me a lefty and you a righty. The claim that people should be given only the basics to survive chills me to the core. I find the thought so absolutely abhorent that I will not engage it, for I will learn nothing from it and niether will you, with the only result being to many bad feelings ill words and reincriminations. I firmly believe that the state is that to provide its citizens with a decent life that allows them not only to survive but to aspire for better things. It must not simply let people linger but must insipre them to achieve. the idea of “get on your bike” is the least inspiring attitude possible. Some people are born into opportunity and some aren’t, and education is at the heart of this difference.

    You also seem to imply that those on benefits are just lazy do nothings. Nothing is so further from the truth and Sue puts it in a wording and actuality I will never be able to do, and so I will not indulge further. Unfortunately this prejudice runs at the heart of the top con thinking atm, and it does more to damage society then any Big Society can ever fix. It breads mistrust of another one’s neighbour…. not a solid basis upon which to build any society let alone a big one.

    I leave you with this passing though. As has been said “A society is as strong as the weakest of its members.”


    I was only using a technique used profusely in philosophical discussion of making a point by stretching an argument to its logical extremes, for the basic premise remains the same. “the state is a hinderance to my freedom – it is a source of interference and not betterment”. Logically that argument, when stretched leads to the capitulation of the state.

    I shall not indulge further ideological discussions for they are never fruitful in these contexts and I don’t think they fall within the scope of the blog (I highly doubt Anthony is amused atm)


    Comrade, you have been a joy to know and a soldier of all weathers. You have managed to turn your predicament into something fruitful and good. Never stop engaging for that is what you can control. You will undoubtedly be missed, but I understand your reasons. Never let them tell you that what you deserve is to be given to you by charity. You own no one nothing. Always fight for what is yours by right. Faith is a cruel mistress, but its what we do with the time that we are given that ultimately counts. Fair sailing and hope to cross you somewhere under a different name and a different persona. No matter what you chose to be you fight spirit will always shine through.

  6. Xiby

    “I shall not indulge further ideological discussions for they are never fruitful in these contexts ”

    I agree.

  7. @Sue – best of luck with everything.

  8. @Julian Gilbert

    “MT certainly didn’t believe in no state. Lines of police officers in riot gear guarding the entrances to the mines were a stark visual reminder of that.”

    You’ve zoomed in very accurately at one of the many inherent contadictions of Thatcherism here. Where it suited her political purposes she brought the might of the state to bear in very oppressive and overbearing ways. The levers of the state that she liked (not it’s welfare arm, quite obviously) were the police, the intelligence services and the inland revenue, all of whom acquired extra intrusive powers during her time in government. Who can forget how she marshalled the various levers of the state to crush the miners in the early 80s (incredibly, looking back now, even restricting the free and lawful movement of people around the country). Good state, bad state was her guiding light, never no state. Where I fundamentally disagreed with her was the definition of good and bad!

    @Sue Marsh

    Sorry to see you go. It would be preposterous to claim that I even began to know you, but, from what you wrote, I think I might well have liked you a lot had I been able to meet you in person. Then again, who knows. Cyberspace is a phoney world and proper human contact is the only way to gain true knowledge of things, ideas and people. All the very best, anyway.

  9. @EOIN
    Thanks for the link to NC’s speech. For me, this is meaningless semantics at its worst, even contradictory at times. IMO.
    @ALEC -“Getting a reputation for being anti semantic can get you into hot water.”
    LOL :)
    Priceless as usual. The blog’s a good idea. I’ll be looking out for a diary of a ‘benefit scrounger’.

  10. @ Xiby

    I know personally young people who live on benefits by choice and have a very resonable life style choosing only to work 10 to 15 hrs per week instead of the full time hours that are most certainly available to them where they live.

    How do I know? I rent rooms to them in my houses in Milton Keynes. They are proud of their lazy lifestyles.

    In my previous post I was careful to say that benefits should only be withdrawn from those who choose this life style and not those who are temporarily forced into unemployment by events.

  11. @Sue

    I’ve been away for a few days so haven’t yet caught up with postings so at the mo I’m only aware of your most recent post here.

    I wish you the very best.

    Sadly, I agree with your predictions about our country and the coalition.


  12. @John

    The exception does not make the rule.

  13. @Sue Marsh

    You can’t leave just like that… one out all out surely, isn’t it?

  14. XIBY

    “The exception does not make the rule.”

    Which rule do you refer to -in this case?

  15. Sue –

    Brave, bold and beautiful – as we would expect ;-)

    Thank you for all that you have shared.

    Looking forward to stumbling upon you in the ether sometime in the future…..

    You should write – you have a talent for it.

  16. @Sue M

    I’l miss your postings and will check from time to time to see if the Blog idea gets going.

    Take Care


  17. @Sue M


    “You should write – you have a talent for it.”

    Just noticed this previous point from @woodsman.

    I heartily agree with it if you are able to: blog, novel whatever. Definite literary class.

  18. Don’t get the time to post as often as I might but i do follow quite a bit and I saw you Sue Marsh as one of the stalwarts who was always reasonable as well as passionate will miss reading your posts.

  19. The recent ‘comrade’ postings reflect the way the postings on this page have become very one-sided. Ah well. Better here than in government.

  20. Davey,

    We all meet here, as without all these Cabinet Meeting, we are at a loose end. Most of the Blues and Yellows don’t post much, they are too busy running the country ;-)

  21. So any predictions for the Shadow Cabinet results?

    Any surprises?

  22. @SUE,
    So sorry that you are going .Every best wish for the future.
    Blessed be.

  23. @Garry K
    “we are at a loose end”
    :) :)

    I wonder if AW would provide us with an emoticon leaning on a lamp-post or similar? Cue the music from the old Strand cigarettes advert !

    Best Wishes. You are a star. I hope you come back.

  24. @Richard in Norway,
    Well i do not find Baroness Warsi sexy but I do know that she never answers the question asked, but just comes out
    with an endless mantra about how terrible labour were.Strange choice of apologists the tories have.Last
    night the very uneddifying sight of Michael Heseltine berating Ken Loach for talking marxist clap trap.If you have not seen this you must, it is very funny.It was on Newsnight.At lunchtime we had the kiss of the Vulcans from John Redwood!

  25. Ishould have said the vulcan death grip!

  26. h ttp://

    This is an interesting link for those who are debating about the sort of people who need benefits. It links with a though I had about the cap on benefits and how it would effect the relative high earner who unexpectedly lost their job.

  27. Regarding the Shadow Cabinet elections, I personally would like to see a new young team, with a smattering of experienced, older Ex Ministers.

    I love to see a place for Alan Johnson, as he is the type of guy who comes across really well and ‘normal’, and would be happy to take a back seat and let Ed and the young guns get on with it. He would also be a good source of advice and back up for the others.

    In no particular order, these would be good:

    Ed Balls,
    Yvette Cooper,
    Andy Burnham,
    Douglas Alexander
    David Lammy,
    Sadiq Khan

    We’ll see!

  28. Cozmo,

    Maybe we should have a red symbol of someone handing over enough rope over to a blue and yellow symbol, stood near some gallows ;-)

  29. Hello all. Just poking my head around to say hi. I don’t have the energy anymore to keep posting. Sorry.

    Much has happed since I last posted.

    Election of Ed Milliband: I am disapointed that Diane Abbott was knocked out and I thing Ed is a puppet of the Trade Unions. In Short Michael Foot Mk II. I might be wrong. I hope Im wrong.

    Child Benafit cut: Brave but some say foolish while others say unfair. I think that all the hype is from the very people that it affects.

    I am awaiting a 20 point Labour lead by the end of the year due to the spending review. I have prepared myself because those 1 point Labou leads have taken 10 years off my life ;)

    Happy poll gazing.

  30. The shadow cabinet results are up.8 women 10 men.

  31. @Garry K,
    Alan Johnson is there!

  32. Ann,

    That’s great.

    This is the list:

    1. Yvette Cooper

    2. John Healey

    3. Ed Balls

    4= Andy Burnham

    4= Angela Eagle

    6. Alan Johnson

    7= Douglas Alexander

    7= Jim Murphy

    9. Tessa Jowell

    10. Caroline Flint

    11. John Denham

    12= Hilary Benn

    12= Sadiq Khan

    14. Mary Creagh

    15. Ann McKechin

    16. Maria Eagle

    17. Meg Hillier

    18. Ivan Lewis

    19. Liam Byrne

  33. Ann (in Wales)
    Looks a very interesting list, some names I am unfamiliar with, but knocks the socks off the Cabinet in terms of the number and quality of the women!! That’s 6-love to Labour in terms of gender progressiveness

    Very surprised that Ben Bradshaw has missed out?! He always impressed me both as a politician and through his commitment to the Culture brief.

  34. @Garry k,
    is your list in order of the number of votes,if you see what Imean.

  35. The list has a lot new names. I think it will take a while for the public to get accustomed to them.

  36. It is in order of votes cast

  37. Is that list what ed miliband would have if he went into government.

    or does he get to choose his own?

  38. I don’t really see what Martyn is being castigated for. He’s arguing a case, just like everyone else here does.

    Sue, I’m very sorry you are so ill. However, if you tell everyone that you’re a stockbroker then you can hardly blame them if they respond to you as if you’re a stockbroker.

  39. Hooded Man,
    Imust confess that it was Gary who typed the list,it would
    have taken me forever.Yes, I am surprised Ben Bradshaw
    is not there.A great pity.

  40. @Garry K,
    So John Healey came second! I must confess that I have never heard of him.

  41. Is there still a fraud investigation pending over Sadiq Khan’s expenses?

  42. The list is quite refreshing, and shows that some of the names are solid Ex-Government Ministers, many have been culled and a lot of new blood is there too.

    Here’s ome guesses…

    Yvette Cooper – Chancellor
    Andy Burnham – Home Secretary
    Ed Balls – Defense Secretary
    Alan Johnson – Health Secretary
    Sadiq Khan – Foreign Secretary
    John Denham – Justice Secretary
    Douglas Alexander – Environment Secretary

  43. Ann (in W),
    I wasn’t doing down Garry K’s typing (cut and paste? ;-) )
    I’d seen it elsewhere before I replied to you :-)

    I look forward to the predictions tonight on who’ll get what!

    Ps very glad to see Mr Woodward’s front bench career come to an end..

  44. No brothers but two sisters and a husband and a wife to make up for it.

  45. Hooded Man,

    My secret is out. But if more than two consecutive words are spelt correctly, it probably isn’t my genuine typing anyway!

  46. @Garry k,
    I think Sadiq Khan as environement,perhaps Yvette cooper as foreign secretary.However the unknown, to me,JoHN healey would surely have to have amajor role.Ed BALLS as shadow chancellor.

  47. Sue,
    Just tracked back to your farewell earlier….
    A dignified and elegant epilogue, if it is to be so. I respect your decision (even if I may not agree with it) but I hope you’ll keep reading when you have some time between fighting for your causes………

  48. @John Fletcher

    “How do I know? I rent rooms to them in my houses in Milton Keynes. They are proud of their lazy lifestyles.”

    This must be distressing for you, I imagine, because indirectly, you are profiting from money extracted dishonestly at worst, or immorally at best, from the hard pressed public purse. Can I suggest two possible remedies; one to eliminate any moral conflict that may wrack your conscience, the other to save the state money? Firstly, refuse to accept such people as tenants, assuming you’re as sure of their dishonesty and moral turpitude as you say and, secondly, if you detect actual fraud and criminality, report them to the relevant authorities.

    As a reader of your fairly regular posts, and knowing your views on such matters, I trust you to do the right thing by not only yourself but also your country.

  49. I am a bit worried that I not only knew who John Healey was but had heard many of his destroying replies to his shadow counterpart Bob (somebody).

    He will not do the same to Pickles who can stonewall better than many.

    I am astonished you lefties think he is an ‘unknown’.

  50. I think at tonight’s (and Sunday’s) poll could be the most important for the Liberal Democrats in the last 13 years.

1 5 6 7 8 9