Commission on Social Justice: Minimum wage warning for Labour as party urged to adopt student loans: Taxing child benefit

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The Independent Online
Mary Jane Cole works as a part-time physiotherapist in London. She collects child benefit for Emily, five, and Fergus, two-and-a-half, writes Glenda Cooper.

'When I first had Emily I was very conscious of this as a new benefit. I spent it mainly on nappies.' she said. 'With children there are so many extra costs . . . It's very useful and I see it as a bonus, although at the back of my mind it does seem unfair that it's given out across the board irrespective of your situation. It certainly helps, but if I didn't have it the children wouldn't go without.'

Her husband, Simon, a planning director at the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, agrees: 'To be honest there doesn't seem a point in giving it to everyone . . . it should be better targeted . . . It should somehow be means tested.'

(Photograph omitted)