Sunday round up

The full tabs for the YouGov/Sunday Times survey are now up here. On the regular leader trackers David Cameron’s figures have returned to somewhat more typical figures after his big increase last week – he is on minus 24 (from minus 18 last week), Ed Miliband is up on minus 25 (from minus 27), Clegg on minus 54 (from minus 53).

Attitudes to the economy have not changed much, with the public continuing to be broadly split. The trend towards people supporting a change in economic policy continues – those who would prefer the government to concentrate on growth now outnumber those supporting concentrating on the deficit by 38% to 30%. Asked if the government’s economic policies are working, only 8% think they have started to work, but a total of 36% think they will eventually work, compared to 39% who think they will never work.

George Osborne himself is viewed very negatively. Only 15% of people now think he is doing a good job as Chancellor, with 56% thinking he is doing badly. Amongst the Conservative party’s own supporters less than half think he is doing well. Asked if David Cameron should replace him, 24% think Osborne should stay as Chancellor, 45% think he should be replaced. Despite these negative findings, he does still have a slightly lead over Ed Balls on who would make the better Chancellor – 28% prefer Osborne, 22% Balls, 50% say don’t know.

On the fuel duty, there is massive support for the cancellation (80% think it was the right thing to do), but that doesn’t necessarily translate into positive perceptions of the government. 46% think it is a sign of government weakness or incompetence, as opposed to 33% who see it as a sign they are listening. These figures correlate strongly with voting intention, which is a good illustration of how the public tend to view things through the prism of their existing positive or negative perceptions of a party. So three-quarters of Tory supporters think a U-turn shows the government being willing to listen and change its mind, three quarters of Labour supporters think it shows a government that is incompetent or weak.

Moving on, YouGov asked who people thought had been the best and worst Chancellor of the last 30 years. Surprisingly Gordon Brown comes top of both. Nigel Lawson and Ken Clarke are seen as the next best Chancellors, Osborne and Lamont as the next worst.

The reason Brown dominates both is interesting methodologically – it is at least partly down to the fact that in the last 30 years there have only been two Labour Chancellors, but six Conservative ones. People tended to answer the question along partisan lines (over half of Labour supporters named a Labour chancellor as best, a Conservative Chancellor as worst, and vice-versa for Conservative supporters), but the Conservative answers were split between six different Chancellors, the Labour answers split only between Brown and Darling.

Going back to the poll, YouGov found predictably negative views of the banks. Hardly anyone thinks they have substantially improved their behaviour since the crisis began. People think they are dishonest by 49% to 28%, and incompetent by 45% to 36%. Only 34% say they trust them a lot or a fair amount with their money. On the futures of Stephen Hester and Bob Diamond, only a minority (35%) think Hester should lose his job over RBS’s software failures (47% think he should stay). In contrast an overwhelming majority are in favour of Bob Diamond resigning – 78% think he should go, compared to just 10% who think he should stay.

On other issues, 56% of people think the Queen was right to shake hands with Martin McGuinness, compared to 24% who think she was wrong to do so. YouGov asked a similar question on the day of the handshake for the Sun, which also asked whether respondents themselves would be prepared to shake hands with Martin McGuinness if they met him. 39% said they would, 39% said they wouldn’t.

There was also a new ICM poll out in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph. Their “wisdom index” (that is, respondents predictions of what shares of the vote people would get, rather than how people themselves would vote) stands at Conservatives 31%, Labour 38%, Liberal Democrats 17%.

ICM also asked some questions on potential benefit changes. Overall people tended to think the current benefit system was too generous – 56% thought so, compared to 12% who thought it should be more generous and 24% who think the current balance is about right. On specific measures, there was support for capping child benefit for people with 3 or more children (65% support, 25% opposed), and setting a time limit for how long jobseekers allowance can be paid (48% support, 36% opposed), fairly even splits on stopping housing benefit for under 25s (40% support, 40% opposition) and varying benefit rates by region (39% support, 44% oppose… with, as would expect, a strong regional skew) and opposition to means testing pensioner benefits like the winter fuel allowance (38% support, 51% opposed).


104 Responses to “Sunday round up”

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  1. First?

    Some month-end graphs:

    UK & London calendar averages – h ttp://tinypic.com/r/ieh0z5/6

    RoS & MId/Wal calendar averages – h ttp://tinypic.com/r/243fdom/6

    North / Scot calendar averages – h ttp://tinypic.com/r/t9k1vc/6

    Lib Dem Trends – h ttp://tinypic.com/r/1h6o0i/6 (I noticed Scotland…ooo)

    Gov Approval for the month – h ttp://tinypic.com/r/2vb4ncl/6

  2. So, Brown was our best AND worst Chancellor in the last 30 years. Maybe that one Janus-esque response from this YouGov poll, more than any other, should remind people to take rather large pinches of salt when pondering opinion poll data. Voting intentions fine, that’s fairly unequivocal but, really, some of this other stuff that emerges from the entrails of polls is pure mumbo-jumbo, isn’t it? Take the responses on benefits. How many people who are randomly sampled in an opinion poll would really understand our benefits system in all its impenetrable detail? Very few I would think but if 75% of our media present us a society riddled with bogus claimants pilfering a bloated and munificent welfare system, how do we really think people are going to respond if they’re asked by a pollster if they think that the system is too generous or not?

    |As I said, this sort of baloney isn’t worth the paper it isn’t written on, as gold old Sam Goldwyn might have said.

  3. @R Huckle – fpt ” …do they not care?”

    The 27th June YouGov asked about constitutional changes. Those who see a referendum on setting up an English Parliament as a priority was down to 14%, from 17% in Sept 2010.

  4. George Osborne 2nd worst Chancellor & he’s had the job for less than 3 years. This in the week when he made a very popular deferral of a planned 3p rise in fuel duty! Give him another year or two & he’ll top the unpopularity list.
    8-)

  5. On specific measures, there was support for capping child benefit for people with 3 or more children (65% support, 25% opposed)
    ———————————
    So what? It’s not a policy which can be implemented. It’s gender discrimination because only the mother need be documented on the birth certificate. So the children of a father with lots of children by different mothers wouldn’t necessarily be affected by the cap.
    8-)

  6. Any reasons given why Gordon Brown is best Chancellor?

  7. “Any reasons given why Gordon Brown is best Chancellor?”

    just cos.

  8. @Amberstar

    “So what? It’s not a policy which can be implemented.”

    Not at all convinced the argument of gender discrimination would stand up in court, but even if it did, it wouldn’t make implementing the policy impossible. Courts can only rule that government decisions conflict with primary legislation. If Parliament is willing to change the conflicting bit of primary legislation, the courts can’t stop it.

    That, incidentally, is the way it should be. It should be our elected Parliament, not our unelected judiciary, that has the final word on what should be done.

  9. @Crosbat11

    The best/worst chancellor poll is a prime example of why it’s wrong it assume that the most people voting for x means the public agree with x. If we have 21% voting best and 25% voting worst, that’s an unaccounted 54% whose opinions could be anything from second best to second worst.

    And that is precisely why the argument used by FPTP proponents that the most votes = what the people wants is rubbish. When an MP gets elected on 30% of the vote, it could be that more than 30%, or even the whole other 70%, consider that candidate the worst possible choice.

  10. @Chris Neville-Smith

    In this case it would require re-writing of either, 1) gender equality and human rights legislation to remove such requirements and make women solely responsible for their children which would have knock on implications for child support 2) somehow rewrite the complex group of legislation associated with births and children to make if gender equal in application.

    In the choice between hugely unpopular and hugely impractical, which one do you suggest?

  11. @Chris Nevile-Smith

    Additionally, Parliament may be supreme within the realm, but it is not supreme without the realm. And the UK has entered into certain treaties that require us to maintain certain laws. And the abrogation of those treaties would have an external response.

  12. But this only one rigid interpretation of gender equality (which appears to have little motivation for equality and every motivation to derail a government decision that people disapprove of, but that’s an aside). I could just as easily cook up an equally rigid interpretation that as child benefit goes to the mother, a differential between the first and second child is illegal, or go even further and say all child benefit is illegal.

    If it came to primary legislation (which I doubt it would, but supposing it did), it would simply require adding a clause to the blocking Act saying “This Act shall not be interpreted in a way to prevent the Secretary of State to set varied amount for child benefit” (or any better wording), similar to the clause added ot the Irish constitution to say that the fiscal compact overrules everything in their constitution. The government legislates to overcome court rulings all the time (e.g. the Superannuation Act 2010), and I don’t see why this should be a problem.

  13. @ Chris Neville-Smith

    Not at all convinced the argument of gender discrimination would stand up in court..
    ——————————–
    Gender discrimination would stand up in court. And we haven’t even started on multiple births, assisted conception which results in multiple births, donor insemination etc. How much law do you want to change/ make around this subject?

    I think what’s needed is a poll on not having CB at all because that’s the only way this wouldn’t be clogging up the commons & courts for years; except I think we’ve already had that & a majority are in favour of keeping it.
    8-)

  14. @Amberstar

    “How much law do you want to change/ make around this subject?”

    If necessary, one clause per Act. Doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that.

    “I think what’s needed is a poll on not having CB at all … except I think we’ve already had that & a majority are in favour of keeping it.
    8-)”

    You’ve just argued that public opinion on no CB after the third child is worthless because the law doesn’t allow it. Why then should it carry any weight if the only way to comply with equality legislation is to scrap it completely? Don’t see how you can argue public opinion counts one way but not the other.

  15. @ Chris Neville-Smith

    I could just as easily cook up an equally rigid interpretation that as child benefit goes to the mother…
    ——————
    Let me stop you right there. It doesn’t. It can only be paid to one carer, split payments aren’t possible – but which carer receives it can be decided by the carers themselves. The CB Office will only make the decision when joint carers fail to agree who should receive it.
    8-)

  16. “It can only be paid to one carer, split payments aren’t possible – but which carer receives it can be decided by the carers themselves. ”

    But who decides that is decides by who has parental responsibility. And as the mother always has parental responsibility but the father only sometimes has parental responsibility (depending on when the birth was and who signed the birth certificate), that is already indirect discrimination.

    It’s a tenuous argument, but so is the argument that limiting child benefit to three children is automatically gender discrimination. If the courts favoured one tenuous argument over the other, Parliament would be quite justified in intervening to stop that.

  17. @ Chris Neville-Smith

    Why then should it carry any weight if the only way to comply with equality legislation is to scrap it completely?
    ————————
    That’s not what I meant. It can’t be limited by number of birth children without it being direct gender discrimination. Limiting it to the number of children which are in a person’s care could still be indirect gender discrimination, given the majority of carers are women.

    Limiting it by carer to two would be fraught with problems too. A married couple with 4 children; can they have mother as primaray carer of 2 & father as primary carer of 2? If that’s a ‘no’, what about an unmarried couple? What about extended family carers etc. etc. Drafting the CB rules would be fraught with difficulty, never mind ring-fencing them from challenge. And the political consequences of arbitrary – or alternatively, discretionary – rulings by the CB Office would be a sight to see.
    8-)

  18. So we have a problem. Child benefit limited to three children is arguably indirect discrimination. Child benefit as it stands is indirect discrimination is also indirect discrimination (unless you want to change parental responsibility law to make absolutely no distinction between the mother and father). So unless you want to scrap the benefit completely, indirect discrimination is unavoidable.

    Anyway, I’ve always believed the point of equality legislation is equality. When it is instead used to try to entangle elected government in red tape, I’m not so keen on it.

  19. @ Chris Neville-Smith

    But who decides that is decides by who has parental responsibility. And as the mother always has parental responsibility but the father only sometimes has parental responsibility (depending on when the birth was and who signed the birth certificate), that is already indirect discrimination.
    ————————–
    Pace the Tories considering legislation which would force the mother to name the father on the birth certificate. This of course falls over when the mother simply says: I don’t know. Or what if the mother just makes up a name? Or if the named father says: Not me, guv. At which point do you give a person who is saying he isn’t a parent the right to have DNA from a child which, apparently, isn’t his! A total minefield & I believe that this proposal will never get anywhere near the statute books.
    8-)

  20. @ Chris Neville-Smith

    Anyway, I’ve always believed the point of equality legislation is equality. When it is instead used to try to entangle elected government in red tape, I’m not so keen on it.
    ————————-
    When the government chose to entagle themselves in red tape by proposing that CB becomes selective rather than universal, that’ll be their political decision.

    My original point, which we seem to have wandered far from, is that there will not be the political will to bring in such a policy because it would be unworkable.
    8-)

  21. “My original point, which we seem to have wandered far from, is that there will not be the political will to bring in such a policy because it would be unworkable.”

    And my opinion is that you are underestimating the political will to bring this forward and overestimating the legal barriers in the way.

    The public are getting quite tired of equality and human rights rulings against the government on tenuous grounds. If the majority of the public are already substantially behind a change in the benefits system, they won’t object to the use of primary legislation to get past the courts.

  22. New data from Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex/NatCen Social Research/Economic and Social Research Council:

    sample size = 40,000 UK-wide (ie. including Northern Ireland, which is highly unusual), including “a unique ethnicity boost sample from the survey which interviews around 1000 adults from each of the following ethnic groups: Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Caribbean and African”

    ‘British, English, Scottish – who do you think you are?’

    According to the report, if there are two persons who are exactly similar in every respect other than country of residence, then the person living in Scotland is predicted to report a Britishness score that is 1.04 points lower than a person living in London.

    North of the border, Scottishness trumps Britishness, even among ethnic minorities.

    Professor John Curtice, from Strathclyde University, told Channel 4 News: “In Scotland, Scottishness has been sold as a multi-cultural identity and it does not have the same association with xenophobia as Englishness.”

    http://www.channel4.com/news/british-english-scottish-who-do-you-think-you-are

    ht tps://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/2012/06/30/ethnic-minorities-living-in-the-uk-feel-more-british-than-white-britons

  23. Over the last few days Vince Cable has repeatedly said the coalition government ‘saved the banks’.

    Anyone able to tell me how and when they did this?

  24. @Stuart Dickinson

    That’s not too much of a surprise. There are minorities with shocking nationalistic prejudice on both sides of the border. The only difference I can see is that in England the prejudice seems to be evenly spread between the rest of the British Isles, the rest of Europe, and the rest of the world, whilst in Scotland, nationalistic prejudice is dominated by anti-English sentiment. Only some Scots have the idea that anti-English prejudice doesn’t count as xenophobia so it’s OK – or “We’re not xenophobic but the f**king English are.”

    Anyway, enough of this. I’m going outside whilst the sun is still out.

  25. chris neville smith

    “The public are getting quite tired of equality and human rights rulings against the government on tenuous grounds. If the majority of the public are already substantially behind a change in the benefits system, they won’t object to the use of primary legislation to get past the courts.”

    hmm if it discriminates on the ground of sex it won’t matter. Imagine if a majority supported the idea that benefits should be reduced on the grounds of skin colour?

  26. Many, many thanks Statsgeek. You really ought to be getting paid for this great public service.

    The Scottish Lib Dem chart is quite frankly astonishing. Remember, this is the party that came in 2nd place at the 2005 UK general election, 5 points ahead of the SNP and 7 points ahead of the Scottish Tories. And although their share of the vote dropped significantly at the 2010 UK GE, they still got nearly double the number of SNP MPs.

    Now look at them: as near to zero on Westminster VI as makes no difference. Sure, it may be a statistical burp, but (often bitter) experience has told me that this sub-sample data is usually spot on. If this continues, the SLDs are heading for Norwegian Blue territory.

    http://tinypic.com/r/1h6o0i/6

    Your Scottish data for Westminster VI strikes me as highly plausible: SLAB in the high 30s, benefitting from Johann Lamont’s popularity; the SNP in the low 30s, over 10 points up on the 2010 UK GE; the Scottish Tories in the high teens, up a point or two on their usual level; and the SLDs at about 5% and set to retain only 2 MPs:

    * Orkney & Shetland (Alistair Carmichael)
    * Ross, Skye & Lochaber* (Charlie Kennedy)

    * Note that Ross, Skye & Lochaber will be abolished if the Tory boundary review goes through, leaving Kennedy in an internal fight to the death with Danny Alexander

    Unless there is a significant SLD recovery before the next UK GE, they look almost certain to lose 2 seats to their Tory coalition partners:

    * Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine (Sir Robert Smith) (looking like a 3-way LD/Con/SNP scrap)
    * Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk (Scottish Secretary Michael Moore)

    No wonder they are going to swap Moore for Jo Swinson at the looming reshuffle: he needs his hands free for the local bare-knuckle fight to try to hold off the Tories in his own constituency.

  27. @Chris Neville-Smith

    So your argument is that it doesn’t matter if it will work or not, or what the consequences are, the Government should cobble together what ever laws are required to get a populist measure enforced quickly?

  28. With Jo Swinson in the news today, it is interesting to note that, based on current Scottish Westminster VI there is only one constituency north of the border which would be a LAB GAIN. Yepp, you guessed it: Swinson’s Dunbartonshire East constituency.

    If Labour are not on to their 4th comprehensive canvas of this seat by the time Polling Day comes along, they need their heads felt. They have the activists on the ground and they have the motivation. The local Lib Dems are a dwindling and highly demoralised bunch.

  29. I note that Labour also have a good chance in Edinburgh West, which is looking like a knife-edge 4-way Lab/SNP/Con/LD tussle.

    But the amazing thing is how few Scottish seats (2) are looking “gainable” for the Labour Party. If Miliband is to win a HoC majority, it will have to be in England and Wales, because they just have so little scope for further advancement in Scotland in terms of Westminster seats. (And they do not contest NI seats.)

  30. @Stuart Dickson

    Unless there’s been a Scottish specific poll I missed, I think you may be breaking one of the cardinal rules… Don’t apply regional breakouts to regional seats, it doesn’t work that way. The regional breakouts have been weighted to national figures, not regional ones, so it is misleading if you use them for regional prediction. Additionally, they are very small non-proportional samples in individual polls.

  31. Rolling Stone are reporting that RBS are to be fined £150 million for it’s part in the Libor scam.
    Barclays is the new Lehman Brothers?

  32. I predict that at some point in the next 2 years, RBS will become 100% owned by UK taxpayers.

    It would not cost too much extra to purchase the remaining 18%, provided there are no objections from the EU.

    RBS is in a much stronger position than it was, as they have divested themselves of various assets. However, I get the feeling that there is still a long way to go and from the UK taxpayers perspective, it might be considered a better option to deal with a 100% nationalised bank, that they can split up and sell. Could they even decide to use part of it, as a permanent state investment bank, for which they can use to provide loans to SME’s.

  33. JayBlanc, I am well aware of “one of the cardinal rules”, and I comrehensively dismiss it.

    Over many years I have been following the Scottish sub-samples of GB-wide Westminster VI polls, for the simple reason that they are astonishingly accurate. For example, the SNP were on a high after John Mason’s astonishing Glasgow East by-election victory, but just a few weeks before the Glenrothes by-election, I noted (with great dismay) a clear change in the Scottish sub-samples, and I knew that my party were heading for a big disappointment.

    That is just one practical example of many. If one monitors across the full range of pollsters (ie. not just YouGov) then one builds up a wonderfully useful picture of the mood of the nation.

    But it is a free world, so you can ignore any data you like.

  34. @Stuart Dickson

    So which poll did you use? And which seat distribution model?

  35. @ Tinged

    Rolling Stone are reporting that RBS are to be fined £150 million for it’s part in the Libor scam.
    Barclays is the new Lehman Brothers?
    ————————-
    I may be telling you something you already know, but the biggest potential scandal is that some of the Barclays senior managers are saying: The BBA & the BoE were told (around the time of the Lehman’s collapse) that the Libor rates were not being accurately reported by several of the banks. Allegedly, there were actual meetings about it for which there should be minutes. The BoE meeting is said to to have been with King’s immediate deputy. If this is true, it’s almost inconceivable that Mervyn King would not have been informed. And what people want to know is: Did the BoE inform Brown &/or Darling? I’d like to know the answer to that too – whichever way it falls!
    8-)

  36. @ Tinged

    Various versions of the BoE, Barclays, Libor discussion are making their way into the news. Here’s the BBC version.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18665080

  37. @AMBER STAR
    Miliband is Brown`s protege…I would be surprised if he willingly sacrificed Brown`s reputation by being aggressive on the banking issue…Darling is another matter.

  38. @ Smukesh

    Well there are variants on the story now. Paul Tucker & Bob Diamond are saying it was a phone call not a meeting. It was not minuted. They both said that the BoE did not give Barclays permission to change its Libor submission. But at the time, somehow (ahem) the senior managers & the Libor submission team at Barclays came to believe that they had the BoE’s permission to file false Libor numbers.

    There’s a whistleblower apparently, ex-Barclays/ RBS who tells the story differently. I guess we’ll have to wait & see what transpires.
    8-)

  39. Comparing the YouGov retrospecttive on best/worst chancellor, with IpsosMORI’s records… satisfaction/dissatisfaction at the time (high/low/final):

    Denis Healey, +46, -2, +39.
    Geoffrey Howe, +14, -1, -1.
    Nigel Lawson, +1, -19, -16.
    John Major, -2, -2, -2 (blink and you missed him).
    Norman Lamont, -3, -52, -52.
    Kenneth Clarke, -4, -53, -17
    Gordon Brown, +32, -21, -13.
    Alistair Darling -15, -16, -15.
    George Osborne +17, -30

    So the real-time IpsosMori measure would have Healey and Brown as the best… Clarke and Lamont the worst.

    h
    ttp://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/38/Satisfaction-With-The-Chancellor-since-1976.aspx?view=wide

  40. @AMBER STAR

    Winks and nods…But who winked and who nodded?

  41. @BILLY BOB

    If popularity ratings defined ‘best’ Hitler would have been the best ever leader with ratings of +90%. :)

  42. STATGEEK

    Although YouGov and Ipsos-MORI don’t send those with minority opinions to concentration camps – yet. :-)

  43. Just seen that in the original Olympics, contests only took place for two days. That’s an idea worth bringing back!

  44. Strangely oldnat I’ve never been fond of concentration camp “jokes.”

  45. PAULCROFT

    Apologies if you are offended – but are you fond of “Hitler is popular” jokes (which is what I was responding to)?

  46. I’m rather split on the Worst Chancellor question. It’s hard to judge who was worse Lamont or Brown, through the mists of time.

    On the alternative side I think Alistair Darling was an exceptionally good chancellor, although he was reined in from his true potential by […] Mr Brown.

    Alistair left office with most credibility, if credibility is any indication of “greatness” at the job of chancellor. And maybe Mr Clarke too albeit I’m not particularly fond of the man, I accept he could manage the economy.

    But overall, I’d give the title of best Chancellor to Darling as I genuinely believe if he had been allowed to talk about the need for cuts, and frame it as Milliband does now, as being not as bad as the Tory alternative, I do believe Labour would currently be enjoying their 4th term. Mr Brown’s policy of avoid all talk of cuts and still continue talk of investing, as well as his famous selling of Gold, denied Labour of economic credibility and this is what I feel lost them the election.

  47. Will this mean a threat to Labour in Wales (and perhaps elsewhere)?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-mps-at-risk-as-union-plots-challenge-7902914.html

    Plaid (and other non-UK parties) seem keener on using public sector expenditure to avoid deepening recession.

  48. @ Smukesh

    Here’s another version of the rumour about the BoE being aware of the Libor fixing.

    “And yesterday, the Independent on Sunday revealed that court documents filed in the US in April accused Bank of England (BoE) officials of failing to act on questions surrounding the “integrity of Libor”, which were raised during meetings of the BoE’s Money Markets Liaison Group as early as 2007. One meeting was chaired by the BoE deputy governor, Paul Tucker, and attended by officials from institutions including at least seven that have since been named in Libor investigations.”

  49. @Amber,

    Capping child benefit is not gender discrimination. The rules already state that full CB is only payable for the first child in a household. After that a lower rate is payable. This is regardless of genetics/motherhood/fatherhood.

    So if a couple have two children, and live apart, then under current rules they would get more CB if one child lived with each than if both children lived with one of them.

    Similarly, if two adults, each with one child, form a household together, their overall CB will be cut.

    This is part of the “paying parents to live apart” culture that we already have.

    If you look at capping as a sort of “zero-rating” for child 4, 5, 6 and upwards, you can see that the rules don’t actually have to change substantially at all.

    So mum gets the money if the kids live with her, dad gets the money if they live with him. And theoretically, you could still get CB for six children if you split them 3/3 between two single-parent households.

    Nice try, though!

  50. @Neil A @Amber

    I think Neil is right, and not least because Child Benefit is a benefit paid to the carer for the benefit of the child regardless of the child’s gender – not for the benefit of the carer. If you could show that second/third children were disproportionately male or female though…

    Now legally possible doesn’t make politically sensible. Look how the plans to limit child benefit to people earning more then £40k have gone down…

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