Poll backs cut in child benefit for the well-off

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MOST people want an end to universal flat-rate child benefits, writes Peter Kellner.

An NOP poll on the public services, conducted for the Independent and BBC-TV's Newsnight, finds that only 35 per cent want to keep universal flat-rate child benefits; almost twice as many, 60 per cent, think better-off families should receive less than they do today.

However, the poll, designed to examine public attitudes to options facing ministers as the Tory conference starts, finds that the principle of a universal basic state pension still commands wide support.

Fifty-four per cent think the same basic pensions should be paid to all retired people; 43 per cent think the Government should reduce pensions for the better-off.

Few people either want taxes raised to pay for more generous pensions or child benefit, or want overall spending to be curbed to make room for tax cuts.

Poll details, page 8