"It would make a big difference"
£200 boost as women get child benefit before birth
Women in the later stages of pregnancy will be able to claim child benefit for the first time. The Chancellor said the benefit, worth £17.45 a week for the first child and £11.70 for subsequent children, was traditionally paid following a birth. But yesterday, he extended it to all women from the 29th week of pregnancy. The changes mean a mother-to-be going to full term will get an extra £200 in a first pregnancy and £130 in subsequent pregnancies, all free of tax.
That's ok, £11.70 a week would keep me in Floradix and organic vegetables so that I could produce the healthiest baby possible. I'm managing at the moment, but Christmas is going to be sparser than it would otherwise have been due to me needing £12 worth of Floradix every 2 weeks and slightly better food than I'd normally manage on, so the extra child benefit would be great. I won't get it this time though, because the change won't take place until April 2009. But in theory it's a good idea.
What made me laugh and gasp though in equal measure was the case study highlighted by the Daily Mail to illustrate the difference they think this change will make to 'real people'. The fact that it's about a fellow Yorkshire lass made it even more difficult for me to stomach!:
It would make a big difference
Donna Stacey is looking forward to the birth of her first baby in three months' time. But she said that the escalating costs of preparing for a newborn can detract from the excitement of giving birth. At 25 weeks pregnant she would get an extra £200 in child benefit if legislation had already been in place. Instead she will have to wait until the birth before she gets her first payment.
She has had to budget £2,000 for essentials such as a cot and a pram. Mrs Stacey, 35, a PE executive who lives in Leeds, said 'That extra £200 would have made a big difference, especially with a first child. Worrying about how you are going to pay for everything can sometimes dampen some of the excitement around having a baby.'
"She has had to budget £2,000 for essentials such as a cot and a pram." ??? Donna might be a 35 year old PR executive down the road from me in Leeds, but along the way, what happened to her brain?
I can't believe someone's spending their pregnancy worrying about how to find £2,000 for a cot and a pram. If this is the pinnacle of modern civilisation, you can keep it. The world has truly gone mad.
Essentials? A baby doesn't even need a cot and a pram! My baby won't have them and still wouldn't if I had £2,000 to spend on them! And what's with the £2,000? Since when did cots and prams cost so much money? A pram is a box on wheels (without an engine) and a cot is a wooden cage. £2,000? Why?
The only essential a baby needs is its healthy mother being prepared to naturally supply its demands 24/7. These mostly consist of feeding and cuddling. Both of which were free of charge, the last time I checked.
My baby will travel in a home-made sling, made from an old sheet or other suitable fabric and it will sleep in my bed, of course. This is basic logic, the most fundamental common sense.
And just one more thing: If Donna is worrying about finding £2,000 to fund such 'essentials' for her baby, how is an extra £200 in child benefit going to make that much difference to her? It's a drop in the ocean.