The benefits of the system

One of the more surprising things about the proposed cuts on Child Benefit is finding someone saying that, and I’ll paraphrase to save blushes, “we should stop paying girls to have kids that don’t contribute to society”.

Child Benefit, for your first child, works out as just under £1100 a year. So let’s see how much that ‘pays’, once you factor in the basic needs. I’ve used Argos for prices, picking the most basic option.

Somewhere to sleep: £124.96
Apparently, you can’t just let them sleep in a drawer any more, so…
A cot: £49.99
A cot mattress: £25
A set of cot sheets: £9.99
Two baby sleeping bags: £39.98

Transport: £99.98
Carseats are an issue. You need one before they let you leave hospital now. You can borrow one, obviously, or buy one second hand. Although all advice is against second hand as you don’t know what kind of damage it may already have gone through. But let’s assume our hypothetical mum borrows one and not include it in the costs. Still…
Stroller suitable from birth: £89.99
Sun parasol: £9.95

Clothes: £92.40
We’ve gone to Babies R Us for this, and are just doing the basics. Better hope this mum doesn’t want to dress the kid in anything other than white sleepsuits.
Pack of 7 white short-sleeved vests
0-3 months: £9.49, 3-6 months: £9.49, 6-9 months: £9.49, 9-12 months: £9.49
Pack of 3 white sleepsuits
0-3 months: £9.49, 3-6 months: £9.49, 6-9 months: £9.49, 9-12 months: £9.49
Pack of 2 white hats: £3.49
Snowsuit for winter: £12.99

Food: £480
Our mum breast fed for the first six months, but she buys baby food rather than mash everything herself now the brat is weaned.
High chair: £24.99
Sippy cup: £3.99
weaning bowl and spoon: £4.49
plate and bowl: £4.99
baby cutlery: £3.99
60 packets of baby porridge (6 months’ worth): £150
360 jars of baby food (lunch & dinner): £288

Keeping things clean: £319.96
Baby is bathed in the sink to start with, then the adult bath. And we’ll be harsh and use adult towels. Still…
baby toothbrush and teether set: £4.98
2 bottles baby bath soap: £0.98
2920 nappies (8 a day), own brand: £315

So that’s £1117.30. So Child Benefit of just under £1100 really provides an incentive to have kids. It ‘pays’ by, er, leaving you out of pocket.

Honestly, some people.

(Disclaimer: there are actually many, many variables e.g. using cloth nappies is cheaper, but having to use formula milk is more etc etc. I’ve probably forgotten something key, and this poor kid gets no toys or nice clothes. These prices are based on a rapid search of Argos, Babies R Us and Sainsburys – cheaper options may be available.)

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3 Responses to “The benefits of the system”

  1. Eddie Robson Says:

    Not only that, but it gets progressively more expensive after the first year: they eat more, the clothes cost more and so on.

  2. carrie Says:

    Have they taken into account lone parents? So does a single parent with one high income lose just as much as a two income family?

  3. Mags Says:

    Eddie – yeah, eventually they outgrow the footie jammies.

    Carrie – Child Benefit hasn’t been means tested in teh past. The new proposal means if one or both parents earn enough to be in the higher tax bracket, they no longer get CB. If both parents are just below the higher tax threshold, they keep CB.


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