Letter: Benefits that must be maintained

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Sir: The Independent is right to report that Daycare Trust research concludes that targeting specific welfare benefits to lone parents would help them escape the poverty trap and, in addition, save the social security budget an estimated pounds 230m a year (29 June). However, in likening this to policies supported by right-of-centre groups, you neglect to identify one critical distinction that we, an apolitical childcare charity, make: we do not advocate targeting child benefits or means-testing currently universal benefits.

The Daycare Trust is in fact a member of the steering group of the Coalition for Child Benefit, a group of more than 80 organisations, including the National Association of Citizens' Advice Bureaux and the Child Poverty Action Group. We, and the coalition, believe that the case for not only keeping child benefit as a universal benefit, but also index-linking it, is overwhelming.

The Daycare Trust report, Becoming A Breadwinner, on which your story is based, recommends changes not to child benefit, but to income support and family credit rules - specifically, earnings and childcare disregards.

Yours faithfully,



Daycare Trust

London, WC2

26 June