Will my hon. Friend confirm that most of that huge sum goes to families who are well above the supplementary benefit level? Is it sensible to churn money around the system so indiscriminately?
My hon. Friend will have noted the examination of that proposition in the Green Paper and the fact that we remain dedicated to the existing structure and basis of child benefit. If child benefit were taxed, the effect on the great majority of working families would be the equivalent of a 30 per cent. reduction in child support.
Will my hon. Friend explain why it is fair and reasonable to pay child benefit to those earning £10,000 or £20,000 a year when he intends to cut housing benefit for pensioners on low incomes?