The government is struggling with two problems arising from its decision to cut child benefit for higher earners. They are:
1) The fairness issue. Under the current plans, a family where one person earns £43,000 and the other person receives nothing would lose the benefit, but one where both people earn £42,500 still received it.
2) The cliff edge. If you earn just below the higher-rate threshold, you actually lose money by getting a small pay-rise, because you will suddenly lose all your child benefit.
Various solutions have been floated to these two problems.
The first is that you could lift the threshold for losing child benefit to £50,000, essentially making sure it hits a smaller, wealthier section of the population. But apart from the money it costs, this actually solves neither of the above problems. Ministers might see it as a good and simple way to generate some more positive feeling around this policy, but it doesn’t fix the major issues at all.