Child benefit round the world

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The Independent Online
UNIVERSAL child benefit is one of the most controversial benefits of Britain's welfare state. Paid to seven million families, regardless of their income, it costs the Treasury pounds 6bn a year. Families get pounds 10 a week (more than pounds 40 a month) for the first child, pounds 8.10 for others up to age of 16. Benefit is also paid for children aged 16 to 18 if still in full-time education.

How does this compare with other countries? Nothing is paid for the first child in France. Families with two children get the equivalent of pounds 62 a month; with three, pounds 140; with four, pounds 220; and with five, pounds 300. The allowance is payable until 16, or 18 if the child is unemployed or has low earnings. It continues up to 20 for children in education.

Statistics from York University's Social Policy Research Unit also show that, in Germany, benefits are paid to children up to age 16, to 21 if unemployed, or to 27 if in full-time education. For the first child about pounds 21 is paid, for the second from pounds 21 to pounds 39 depending on income. The third child gets from pounds 42 to pounds 67, then from pounds 42 to pounds 73.

In Japan benefit is paid only to children up to the age of three. For the first and second child, families receive about pounds 30 a month. For every other child they get pounds 60. Families who earn above pounds 21,200 get nothing.

Benefit is income-related in Australia. The rate is pounds 22 for each of the first three children, pounds 30 thereafter. The full rate is paid to children under 16 and for students up to 25. Families receive nothing if their combined income exceeds about pounds 32,000 for a one-child family.

Norway pays about pounds 60 per month for one child up to age 16, pounds 63 for two, pounds 72 for three, pounds 75 for four, and about pounds 78 thereafter.

Benefits in the USA are means-tested and are available for some children under 18. The level varies from state to state.