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Oct. 28th, 2010

From Iain Martin’s blog on the WSJ:
Child benefit is paid to the mother. She is under no legal obligation to tell the father that she receives it. The Treasury confirms this. It is her benefit. The father’s tax status is irrelevant. If a mother claims it there is nothing forcing her to flag up to the taxman that her husband earns above the level that Osborne stipulates should mean no child benefit.

A mother fills out the form for Child Benefit when her child is born, and then the money is paid until her offspring hits 19. If it wants to proceed, the government will have to scrap that simple universal system of payment and try to construct a mechanism that keeps track of what millions of mothers’ partners are earning.

This is what is causing Thick of It-style panic in the Treasury and HMRC. I hear that ministers are considering (and tell me which part of the rest of this sentence might provide cause for concern) “a new government database” to try and match up mothers with their partners.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 28th, 2010 10:52 am (UTC)
Oh, well that's alright then! Panic over: considering the government's approach to anything IT-related is t lock a thousand monkeys in a room with lots of bits of wire and hope for the best, this will simply never happen.
Oct. 28th, 2010 10:52 am (UTC)
Oct. 28th, 2010 11:02 am (UTC)
awesome. That's Child Benefit safe then. How can we do this for housing benefit and others?
Oct. 28th, 2010 11:14 am (UTC)
Your 'partner' or 'birth father?' And what if you change your partner half way through a tax year? You know how Wife swap switches benefit claimants with the moderately affluent, could families just partner swap on paper with partners under the tax threshold. Oh there's so much fun to be had with this! So much fun! What if you live in a menge a trois? I bet you they'd forget to make a third box!
Oct. 28th, 2010 11:31 am (UTC)
and if they were going to do that, then they mayaswell set up a system for calculating joint incomes...

^^^not that they will ever get it set up
Oct. 28th, 2010 12:31 pm (UTC)
Hmm. What about [male] gay couples with adoptive children? Who's the mother for tax purposes?
Oct. 28th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC)
We can spend all morning, noon and night thinking of new modes of failure for the latest facet of the 'database state'.

Others will be far more positive in their approach.

Those others are, of course, the management consultants who will get the job of *not* implementing it in the familiar process of an uncompetitive tender.

By not implementing it, I mean doing the initial analysis on a consultancy contract in the certain knowledge that the data and the functions are unknown, unknowable, and utterly impossible to specify. This means that the initial consultancy report will - at vast expense - present the Ministry with several unworkable alternatives and one beautifully-presented 'favoured option' that is a carte blanche for the successful implementation-phase bidder to overrun, overcharge, deliver nothing and *still* get paid performance bonuses year in, year out... Before the whole thing is discreetly dropped on payment of a fifty-million pound prenegotiated 'break fee'.

What have I missed?

...Apart from the disturbing possibility that the Minister will overrule his Civil Servants, and get a standing ovation at the conference for choosing one of the 'unworkables'. I leave to your highly-trained imagination to consider just how badly that could turn out.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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